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Fraudster jailed for conning pensioner out of thousands

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A fraudster who conned thousands of pounds out of a pensioner for shoddy and unnecessary roofing repairs at his home has been jailed.

David Hodgkins was paid more than £11,000 by the 79-year-old man over a two month period between August and October 2018. The pensioner, from Wordsley, also loaned Hodgkins around £5,000 for repairs to his van and boiler which were not needed.

The 39-year-old, from Kidderminster, was brought to court following an investigation by Dudley Council’s trading standards team and pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud.

He appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court this week and was sentenced to 21 months in jail. A Proceeds of Crime hearing will take place at a later date.

The court heard the victim initially agreed to pay Hodgkins £500 to clean his roof. Once in the property, the defendant convinced him several costly repairs to the roof were needed. Hodgkins drove the pensioner to his building society on at least 20 separate occasions to draw out cash or have cheques made out in his name.

The withdrawals emptied the victim’s current account and he had to transfer £9,000 from a savings account to cover the payments, the court was told.

A chartered building surveyor instructed by the council to look at the work undertaken told the court it was “inappropriate”, “poorly undertaken” and had “no value whatsoever”.

Hodgkins had no qualifications to carry out roofing work and little to no experience, the court heard.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

This prosecution sends out a clear message we will protect consumers from the activity of rogue traders who flout the law and carry out unnecessary and sub-standard work.
This caused a huge amount of distress to an elderly and vulnerable victim who handed over thousands of pounds he had worked hard to save to a man he trusted, and who badly let him down.

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