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Addict cowboy builder jailed for fleecing pensioner of £70,000
A cowboy builder who fleeced a vulnerable Bradford pensioner of his £70,000 life savings after claiming his roof tiles were loose has been jailed for almost six years.
He made repeated trips to a cashpoint with his naive victim to seize cash sums totalling £25,000, prosecutor David Bradshaw said yesterday.
Brooks, of Winrose Grove, Belle Isle, Leeds, pleaded guilty to fraud, between September 1, 2011, and January 31, 2012.
He also admitted possession of cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis with intent to supply on April 8 last year. Mr Bradshaw said Brooks was already serving a 16 month jail sentence for burglary.
The court heard that he and another man, who has never been identified, approached the pensioner and told him that work previously done on his home was defective.
The pensioner, who lives alone and was not identified by Mr Bradshaw, agreed to pay £1,800 to repair loose tiles but the price kept going up.
In the end, he handed over £70,000 of his accumulated pension fund and life savings. None of the money has been recovered.
Mr Bradshaw said the pensioner at first went to the cashpoint himself to withdraw money but, towards the end of the fraud, Brooks went with him.
“The repairs were not carried out properly, or at all. The work was not fit for anything, but a proper estimate should have been £5,000,” Mr Bradshaw added.
Tim Jacobs, Brooks’ barrister, said he had stopped taking drugs and was hoping to come out of prison a better man.
Judge Robert Bartfield told Brooks: “You took money from this man’s pension and life savings and the rest of his life will be blighted by the deprivation of these monies that he needed in his old age.”
Brooks was jailed for a total of five years and ten months.
After the case, Detective Constable Andrew Miller, of Bradford South CID, said: “Brooks took full advantage of his victim, quoting huge sums of money to conduct unnecessary work.
“Through a series of lies, he systematically accumulated thousands of pounds, each time concocting new reasons as to why money was required. I am extremely pleased to see that his heartless and devious actions have been fully recognised by the courts.
“Don’t be pressured into paying for something you are not sure about, always request identification and contact the police if you concerned about their validity.”