Hailsham builder jailed for conning elderly victims

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A rogue builder who tricked elderly residents into paying £25,850 for unnecessary work has been jailed for 16 months.

William Jones, 22, of Butts Field, Hailsham, admitted to five charges of fraud and two counts of entering into a money laundering agreement when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Monday, December 12. He was sentenced to 16 months for each offence, all to run concurrently.

Trading Standards say it was a call from a 69-year-old victim which prompted the investigation into Jones.

She had paid Jones a total of £10,850, after he told her she had a rotten roof which needed replacing. She became concerned and called the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline.

This triggered an investigation by East Sussex Trading Standards and Sussex Police, which found the work carried out was unnecessary, overpriced and substandard. She now faces a further bill for more than £1,000 to correct the work.

Two other victims were also found including an 81-year-old man who had been told he had substantial problems with his roof. Having taken £6,000 from the man, Jones began work but then left and did not return.

A surveyor found no evidence of repairs having been carried out on the man’s roof and the little work that had been done had caused serious damage. The homeowner now faces further costs to repair the damage caused by Jones.

A third victim, aged 96, paid Jones £9,000 by cheque for work but payment was stopped when Jones attempted to pay it into his partner’s account.

East Sussex County Council says it will be seeking compensation for the victims and a official confiscation hearing is due to take place on May 15, 2017.

Advice for residents is available online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/tradingstandards.

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