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Hailsham Rogue Builder To Pay Back £16k Or Face More Jail Time

A rogue builder who conned a 91-year-old man into paying for unnecessary work to his home has been ordered to pay back more than £16,000 or face more jail time.

William Henry Jones, previously of Butts Field, Hailsham, was sentenced to 34 months in prison last year after admitting tricking his victim into paying more than £13,000 for unnecessary and poor-quality work on the roof of his Eastbourne home.

Now the 29-year-old must pay back £16,345.07 after East Sussex County Council successfully obtained a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

At a hearing at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday, April 30, Jones was told to pay back the money, which includes £5,500 compensation for the victim, within three months or face a further nine months in prison.

Jones had visited the victim’s property on a number of occasions to carry out work, with the cost of repairs continually increasing.  At one point he drove the 91-year-old to another address to collect his chequebook before travelling to a local bank to withdraw funds – a round-trip of 75 miles.

Jones demanded £19,500 for the work. The victim paid more than £13,000 in total, but was able to cancel a cheque for £8,000 before it cleared after East Sussex Trading Standards team became involved, meaning his total loss was £5,500.

A surveyor who assessed Jones’ work said the roof was left in an extremely poor state and significant work was needed to remedy the damage caused.

Andy Clooney of East Sussex Trading Standards said:

“This is a great result for East Sussex Trading Standards and the victim, who will get back all of the money he was tricked into paying for unnecessary work on his home.

“I hope this case sends a clear message to unscrupulous traders that we will do everything we can to bring those committing offences in East Sussex to justice, and to ensure that the money they con out of our residents is returned.”

Anyone with information about fraud or attempted fraud can report it online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.

For consumer advice, or to report a concern to Trading Standards, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506, or by using their online reporting page which can be found at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/tradingstandards

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