A gardener has been convicted of trying to make an elderly woman from Bushey withdraw nearly £7,000 for just over £350 worth of work.

Michael Flegg, 30, of Belvedere in Kent, was arrested after a cashier at a bank in Borehamwood realised the woman was being scammed.

It was in August 2018 when the victim first heard of Heritage Tree Services after a leaflet was posted through her door.

After giving the company a call, a man who was not Flegg, came to the house and agreed a price of £2,000.

The work then began but the customer was told that due to the amount of garden waste, the price would be more than tripled to £6,900.

In St Albans Crown Court, prosecutor Steven Attridge said the woman offered to pay for the work with a cheque but he suggested she went with one of his workers, who she knew as ‘Joe’, to her Natwest bank in Shenley Road, Borehamwood.

Mr Attridge said ‘Joe’ was Flegg.

On the way, it was alleged Flegg told the woman the bank might be ‘nosey’ and they agreed that she should say he was her nephew and she was helping him start a business.

The jury was told Flegg stood with her in the queue before going outside. The victim spoke to a cashier and requested a £7,000 withdrawal, but the bank employee was concerned and the police were called. Flegg was arrested.

Mr Attridge said Flegg said he had started a new job and did not know who he was working for, adding: “He said they were travellers and would get him.“

Flegg said he had been collected from Billericay train station in Essex and had been driven around in a flat-bed van having been promised £60 for the labouring.

The defendant told the police he did not know how much money the woman had been asked to transfer, and had he known he said he would have told her to call the police.

Mr Attridge said an expert valued the work carried out at £357 plus VAT.

On Friday (June 17), judge Michael Simon gave Flegg a two-year conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £400 prosecution costs after a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to defraud.