Tradesman faces up to 18 months in jail

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A Spalding tradesman who overcharged a vulnerable pensioner by £10,000 has been warned to expect a jail sentence.

Ben Webb (24) overcharged dementia sufferer Margaret Jackson (75) by a 1,000 per cent after offering to carry out work on her home, Lincoln Crown Court heard.

The court was told Webb carried out a small amount of work on Mrs Jackson’s roof worth no more than £1,000 but then asked for £11,000 in payment.

Webb, of The Conifers, Pecks Drove East, Spalding, admitted a charge of fraud between June 1 and 12, 2014.

Chris Geeson, prosecuting, told the court: “This is a case of fraudulent trading.

“The victim was a 75-year-old lady in great difficulties with her mental health who was extremely vulnerable.

“This man asked for a payment of £11,000 for some proposed work on her property. That was an overpayment of around 1,000 per cent.

“He did do some limited work on he roof, but the value of that at its highest would have been £1,000.”

Nicola Devas, mitigating, told the court Webb had no previous convictions and the sum of £11,000 was never transferred to his account.

The court heard Mrs Jackson’s bank became suspicious and stopped the payment.

“I cannot argue this was not the targeting of a vulnerable individual,” Miss Devas added. Fortunately the victim was in such poor health that there was no trauma to her.”

Recorder Graham Huston agreed to adjourn sentence on Webb for the preparation of a probation report but warned him that he was considering a jail sentence of up to 18 months.

“This is a fraud concerning £11,000 taken from an elderly and vulnerable woman who suffered from Alzheimers and dementia,” Recorder Huston said.

“Payment was made for work that was simply never carried out and represented a massive overpayment.”

Webb was granted conditional bail until he is sentenced at the end of January.