Electrician who tricked woman, 87, to hand over £25k jailed

Glasgow Sheriff Court. Picture: John Devlin
Glasgow Sheriff Court. Picture: John Devlin

An electrician who tricked an 87-year-old pensioner into handing over £25,000 for work that was never completed has been jailed for two years.

Robert Vize, 31, was hired to carry out electrical and renovation work for 87-year-old James Fisher at his Rutherglen home.

But instead of finishing the work he repeatedly took the OAP to the bank to withdraw money and gave him hand written receipts - for work that was never carried out between September 2016 and April 2017.

Callous Vize also pocketed cash from others including £600 from 81-year-old James Higgins, £950 from Susan Goldie,from Cambuslang, £1,800 from William and Mary Robertson, from Paisley and £900 from Richard and Angela Murphy, from Bishopbriggs.

After a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Vize, from Port Glasgow, was convicted of five fraud charges for taking cash for electrical work that he “did not undertake or complete”.

Today sheriff Alan MacKenzie told Vize: “I consider that the gravity of this offence is such that no disposal is appropriate other than a custodial one.”

He added that some of Vize’s victims were “particularly vulnerable because of their age”.

Mr Fisher – who has since suffered a stroke and has mobility issues - wasn’t able to come to court to give evidence but the jury heard a statement he gave to police

The elderly man has since moved in with his daughter.

In his statement he said Vize carried out electrical work.

The court heard he paid Vize in cash and “must have mentioned” to the electrician he wanted other work done because he offered to do it for him, including getting a new cooker

Mr Fisher told officers: “Robert kept taking more and more money.

“Sometimes he would take me in the car to the bank to Burnside Bank of Scotland”.

The pensioner said Vize would “always wait outside”.

Luckily the OAP noted all of the withdrawals he made – which totalled £25,000 – and handed the document, alongside the hand written receipts to the police.

His daughter Helen, who reported Vize, told the court she “didn’t actually see him doing any work” on the occasions she saw him at her dad’s home.

The court also heard from Mr Higgins, 81, from Ayr, who had a light switch changed by Vize.

He said Vize offered to get a new fuse board for him and claimed the house needed re-wired.

Mr Higgins paid Vize around £400 in cash for the fuse board – which he said was only partially fitted and £300 for the rewiring but “never saw him again”.

The court heard Vize was described as “having a history of being hard working” and continues to deny his guilt .