Published: 17:40, 08 April 2021
| Updated: 18:09, 08 April 2021
A rogue trader who used bogus flyers to scam an elderly pensioner out of thousands of pounds for work he never carried out has been jailed.
But the 49-year-old never returned to complete the work after receiving payment.
He had initially turned up unannounced at the victim’s home in July 2019 and told her she needed urgent roof repairs.
The victim, who is in her 70s, paid him £1,300 and work was carried out. She was then handed a flyer with details of Lee’s supposed business, which he insisted was ‘Checkatrade registered’ and included landscape gardening services.
Thinking Lee was a reputable trader, she then made arrangements for work in her garden and to the driveway.
Lee was paid £7,000 cash up front after he presented a list of materials he claimed needed to be paid for there and then.
But after getting his hands on the pensioner's cash he never returned to complete the job.
The victim called the phone numbers on the flyer but received no response.
She suspected she had been scammed after reading a media appeal on the Kent Police Facebook page for separate fraud offences.
The appeal was to locate a relative of Lee, who she recognised had also visited her home.
An investigation was launched by police which led to his arrest, and he was charged with fraud and possession of articles for use in frauds.
Lee initially denied any wrongdoing and the case was listed for trial at Maidstone Crown Court.
"People like Lee prey on the vulnerable and elderly, often panicking them into spending money on their homes for work that isn’t needed..."
But the rogue trader would later plead guilty to both offences and he has now been sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
A further 80 days were added for breaching terms of a previous suspended sentence.
Det Sgt Marc Cananur, said: "Lee targeted an elderly woman and presented her with flyers of a bogus business. He then pressured and coerced the victim into handing over a large sum of cash for work which he had no intention of ever carrying out.
"People like Lee prey on the vulnerable and elderly, often panicking them into spending money on their homes for work that isn’t needed.
"Remember, if someone knocks at your door, always refuse on the spot repairs or maintenance.
"If you ask them to leave and they don't, contact the police on 999. Genuine companies will also not expect cash in advance or tell you to go to the bank to withdraw money."