A Scottish Builder has been convicted of cheating pensioners out of £80 000.

William McPhee, of Castlecary, near Cumbernauld, was found guilty of defrauding 16 people by carrying out unnecessary repairs, charging exorbitant prices and failing to complete the work properly.

Sheriff Kenneth Maciver could have jailed McPhee, known as “King of the Cowboys”, for up to three-and-a-half years but sent him to the High Court for sentencing because he felt that the maximum jail term was insufficient. McPhee could also have assets confiscated, including a £130 000 house and a Mercedes. The court has accepted an offer from McPhee to pay back more than £60 000.

McPhee registered his firms in Wyoming, USA, to avoid disgruntled clients and tax inspectors. He traded through three firms, A&M Roofing, A to Z Roofing Services and All-tech Roofing.

The court in Glasgow heard that one victim, a woman of 91, was charged more than £20 000 for work that should have cost less than £1000.

McPhee pretended to retile the woman’s roof by painting over the tiles with green paint.

Scottish Building Federation chief executive Sid Patten said: “This case highlights why we need a compulsory registration scheme for builders in Scotland. We should have measures that prevent this sort of thing rather than measures that punish after the fact.” He added: “We as an industry are continually dragged down by the actions of these rogue traders and if the government does nothing else, it should bring in measures that ensure builders meet proper standards for tax payments and quality.”