A SERIAL bogus gardener who was caught after a further victim read a news report on his other frauds has avoided jail.

Michael Fennell, 61, conned David McGowan, 62, out of £3250 on September 13 2019.

Fennell claimed the cash was to buy equipment for the job at Mr McGowan's home in Drumchapel.

Instead, Fennell ignored Mr McGowan whose wife later spotted a story about the gardener in a newspaper.

Fennell, of Crosslee, Renfrewshire, pleaded guilty in 2021 to five fraud charges for work he did not carry out.

He accumulated £10,005 between April 2018 and December 2019.

His frauds spanned the west of the country with five victims living in Glasgow as well as Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire.

Fennell's victims included a 61-year-old retiree and a mum and dad with two young children.

He was fined £3125 and tagged for 90 days.

Fennell pleaded guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to his latest charge of fraud against Mr McGowan.

The court heard that Mr McGowan contacted Fennell on website Ratedpeople.com to do gardening work.

Fennell attended and agreed a quote with Mr McGowan of £6000.

Fennell messaged Mr McGowan later that night and asked for 25% to buy equipment totalling £1500.

Mr McGowan sent the cash by bank transfer and was assured that the equipment was being ordered.

The victim heard nothing from Fennell for a month until he was asked for a further £1750 for equipment which he then paid.

Mr McGowan tried to contact Fennell by email but was ignored.

Prosecutor Leo McGinn said: "Mr McGowan's wife Maureen recognised Fennell from a newspaper report of similar incidents and identified him."

Fennell was then reported to the police.

Sheriff Louise Arrol KC put Fennell on a structured deferred sentence and the case will recall in March next year.