A CON man who preyed on elderly women by falsely claiming to have carried out roof repairs and washed windows has been jailed for 40 weeks.

Rogue trader Darren Greenhalgh ruthlessly targeted his victims over the space of four days in March, knowing they were particularly vulnerable.

The pensioners, aged 89, 84, 79 and 69, all lived in Eccleston. He tricked one of them – who has short-term memory loss out of £300.

Greenhalgh, 27, from Higham Avenue in Eccleston, had cleaned their windows legitimately in the past.

But he returned to an address on Pike House Road on March 23 to demand £20 from a 69-year-old woman after lying that he had fixed roof tiles.

At St Helens Magistrates’ Court, Angela Blackmore, prosecuting, said: “She was confused and was not aware that any tiles had been broken.

“But she assumed he was telling the truth and gave him the cash. She thought nothing else of it until her window cleaner came to her house and it was mentioned.

“He told her she’d been a victim of fraud and should report it to police.”

The next day Greenhalgh visited a house on Millbrook Lane and demanded money.

When the 79-year-old woman insisted that she did not have a regular window cleaner, Greenhalgh became aggressive, claiming she was not at home when he called to collect money.

He initially asked for £16 but when the woman eventually handed over £20 he promised to knock off the price difference next time.

His next target was an 84-year-old woman on Bobbies Lane where he demanded money for fixing tiles.

She told him return later that day for payment but rang the police and a Community Support Officer was sent.

Greenhalgh returned and, while the woman answered the door, the officer stood out of view, before confronting him.

His next victim was an 89-year-old with short-term memory loss.

Shortly after his visit, the pensioner went to her next door neighbour appearing shocked and upset. She said £300 was missing from her handbag.

Police were called and Greenhalgh was stopped in Clarkes Crescent. He told officers that he hadn’t “done a burglary” and the cash was for jobs.

Greenhalgh was released on bail but re-arrested after returning to the 89-year-old’s house.

Defence solicitor Richard Derby admitted the case was “unpleasant” and Greenhalgh was so ashamed of his actions that he offered to pay his victims double the amount he conned out of them.

But magistrates said that the matter was so serious that only a prison term was appropriate.