Two rogue builders who stole more than £12,000 from elderly and disabled homeowners in Northamptonshire after they overcharged for unnecessary, poor quality repair work have been jailed.
Sean Lowther and James Delaney Junior called at a number of homes in Northampton and Wellingborough between January and December 2014 and told residents work needed to be carried out on their property.
Northampton Crown Court heard the men tricked their victims, including a disabled man who was recovering from two strokes, into handing over money up for repair work.
Michael Coley, prosecuting, said Lowther befriended the victim after claiming that he lived down the road from him.
The court heard Lowther even drove the disabled man to a cashpoint so he could withdraw more money.
Mr Coley said the most serious case involved a retired Northampton woman who handed over £6,000 to Lowther and Delaney after they offered to carry out work on the roof of her property and put new windows in.
Surveyors later confirmed that the work carried out was to such a poor standard it had little or no value.
A number of the victims even had to contract a new builder to fix problems created by the sub-standard work.
Mr Coley read victim impact statements to the court in which the victims stated they had lost their trust in people.
The court heard the disabled man had been forced to move back in with his mother as he felt safer there and “could not deal with what had happened to him”.
Lowther and Delaney, both of Northampton at the time of the offences, admitted a charge of being party to a fraudulent business contrary to Section 9 of the Fraud Act at a hearing last month.
The court Lowther, aged 45, has 25 convictions for 73 offences, including 19 of fraud and 13 of theft. He was also sentenced for two further fraud matters carried out in Nottinghamshire in 2015.
Delaney, aged 35, of Drywell Court, Standens Barn, Northampton, pleaded guilty on the basis that he knew payment was taken in advance of what he knew would be sub-standard work.
Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking said the total amount of the fraud was £12,400 and said she believed the two men were “in it together”.
Judge Lucking sentenced them both to two years and eight months in prison.
Lowther was given an extra six months, consecutively, for the offences committed in Nottinghamshire.
Councillor André Gonzalez de Savage, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member public protection, strategic infrastructure and economic growth, said the case was a “significant result” for the council’s Trading Standards team.
He said: “We can work with communities to help them establish No Cold Calling zones and our advice to residents about cold callers is to just say no.
“Residents who want to commission home repairs can find trusted, reputable traders through our Buy With Confidence scheme by visiting www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/approvedtraders.”