A fraudster from Preston who conned an elderly man into paying him for work, before driving him to a cash point to withdraw the money he demanded, has been sent to jail.
John Paul Ward, 25, of Leighton Street, Preston, was paid £950 in cash by 79-year-old William Roy Johnson, on May 25, after turning up at his home in Osprey Drive, Walney, and telling him he needed work doing to his roof.
However, the work he did was only worth £184, Furness Magistrates’ Court heard.
Daniel Calder, prosecuting, told the court a fee of £320 was agreed for Ward to replace two of Mr Johnson’s roof cappings.
Soon after starting work, the defendant came back into Mr Johnson’s house to tell him the roof “could do with a clean”, and the pair agreed Ward would re-paint it and re-point the ridge tiles for an additional £450.
The defendant then approached his elderly victim a third time to offer damp-proofing for £250.
When he asked for the £1,020 in cash, Mr Johnson explained he did not have that kind of money, and offered to write a cheque.
Mr Calder said: “Mr Johnson said he felt rushed and overwhelmed.”
The court heard how Ward told Mr Johnson he would drive him to the bank, taking him to an HSBC branch.
He then left without leaving any notice of right to cancel contract, as is required by law.
Soon after, a surveyor checked Mr Johnson’s roof and said the work had not improved the tiling and was only worth a fraction of what he paid.
When arrested, Ward denied all knowledge of the incident, before admitting his involvement in a second interview. He was sentenced to 150 days in prison, half of it to be served in the community.
Defending, Gareth Price, said: “His behaviour was, I suspect, born out of panic rather than any deliberate thought on his part to mislead or avoid prosecution.”
Ward appeared in court for sentencing having last month pleaded guilty to engaging in a commercial practice which was aggressive, failing to give notice of the right to cancel contract and two counts of fraud by false representation.