Two cowboy builders who conned a pensioner out of £10,000 for “shoddy work” have been ordered to pay back – just £31.
Scheming Anthony Pritchard and John Birks, both 27, repeatedly told the 75-year-old victim that repair work needed doing to his property.
Police were only alerted to the rogue traders by the pensioner’s bank after he tried to withdraw more money than he had in his account.
Pritchard and Birks, both of Alvaston, Derby, admitted fraud by false representation at Derby Crown Court.
Pritchard was jailed for eight months while Birks received ten months.
A Proceeds of Crime hearing at the same court on Friday (9/9) heard the pair each gained £5,500 for their crimes.
But after the court heard they had blown the cash, Birks was ordered to pay back £30 while Pritchard was told to pay his victim just £1.
Recorder Edward Boydell said: “You appear before the courts under a Proceeds of Court Acts matter.
“The benefits which each of you gained has been agreed at £5,500.
“But, in terms of your ability to pay the money, I am told it is agreed between the prosecution and defence that Mr Birks should pay £30 and Mr Pritchard should pay nominal £1.”
At their sentencing hearing in July the court heard the work done by the pair amounted to just under £3,000 but could cost as much as £13,000 to put right.
Sentencing the pair in July, Judge John Burgess said: “The fact that the bank were alert to the withdrawal of large sums of cash by the man you were cheating indicates the sad state of affairs that exists in our society.
“Because there are people like you who are prepared to rip off elderly people who are vulnerable.
“This was mean, it was unpleasant and you were cheating him of money he could probably ill-afford.
“You cheated him, you did poor quality work to a value of far less than you took from him.
“The remedial work may cost as much as £13,000.”
The court heard the conmen knocked at the victim‘s home in Alvaston two weeks before Christmas last year and asked if he wanted any work done.
He told them he didn’t, but then asked if they could tape the aerial to his roof when Pritchard told him it would be expensive if he waited until after the festive period.
The pair then returned to do the job and also offered to clear the pensioner’s garden for £140.
They then came back to his property a number of times and each time the victim paid them in cash for more jobs with the total sum amounting to £10,000.
Prosecutor Siward James-Moore told the court the men worked at the house “on and off” for three to four weeks and the victim was never given any formal paperwork.
He said a lot of the work had been left “incomplete” and that which had been done was of “a very poor standard”.
The pensioner told police he was “fuming” about what had happened and felt that he could not trust anyone to do work on his house again.
He also said there was now water flowing down his garden because of what the rogue traders had done to the guttering.
Martin Elwick, defending Pritchard, said his client had written a letter to the victim, saying how sorry he was.
He added: “He has no previous convictions.
“On the road where this work had been carried out, these two had already been and completed work at four or five properties and there were no other complaints.”
Mr Elwick said that since Pritchard had been arrested he had a period of assessment by a roofing and servicing firm who were willing to provide him with employment.
Chris Hallas, defending Birks, said: “He felt extremely remorseful.
“The reality is that incident has weighed heavily on his mind to the point he is not the person he was before.
“He is suffering from depression. He wants to make amends to the complainant.”
Speaking after the hearing, Detective Constable Adam Wilkins, from Derbyshire Police, said: “This has clearly caused upset and inconvenience for the victim, on top of the heavy financial loss.
“The actions of these criminals are unfair for the hardworking and honest traders who do a good job around our county.
“I would encourage anyone who has concerns that a friend, family member or neighbour may be at risk of this type of incident to call the police.”