Jamie Woodcock, 35, targeted vulnerable people in Sheffield by cold calling them at home.
After persuading his victims they needed gardening work completing, he would agree a fee, but then convince each victim of a false need to buy additional gardening equipment to get the job done. He would make each victim pay him up-front, yet once the money was handed over he would leave with no intention of ever returning.
The offences were committed in the Wharncliffe Side, Stocksbridge, Wisewood and High Green areas of Sheffield between 21 April and 15 June.
Enquiries by the Sheffield North West Neighbourhood Team, based at Deepcar, quickly identified Woodcock, of Saffron Court, Wombwell, Barnsley, as a suspect, following a similar pattern of offending across other parts of Sheffield and Rotherham.
PC Ben Woodley, who led the investigation, said: “I’m pleased that justice has been achieved for the victims of Woodcock’s unscrupulous behaviour. He is a persistent offender, who continued to target the most vulnerable, elderly people in our community.
“Woodcock was fortunate to have his custodial sentence suspended. I truly hope he sees this as an opportunity to change his ways. A custodial sentence awaits if he does not.”
Woodcock pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud by false representation and was sentenced at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court earlier this month. He was ordered to repay £1,450 that he had dishonestly obtained from the four victims, and was handed a 52-week prison sentence suspended for two years. In addition, he was given a supervision order for two years, with 150 hours of unpaid work to be completed within the first 12 months.