A rogue trader who targeted vulnerable pensioners by charging them thousands of pounds for roofing work which should have been a fraction of the cost, has been jailed.
Conman George Beveridge swindled 79-year-old Cecily Pickles, from Lancaster, out of a staggering £57,800 for work that would have cost a maximum of £6,000, Preston’s Sessions House Court heard.
Prosecuting, Andrew Long said in January 2013 Beveridge had knocked on her door and offered to do flagging work - which she agreed to pay £12,000 for.
Over a course of four months he convinced her she needed roofing work, even though she had no problems with the roof.
He said: “The work carried out was to spray slates with a protective spray that does not exist and a chemical treatment in the loft.”
In a victim statement the elderly lady said she trusted the individuals and the betrayal of trust upset her. Mr Long told the court on another occasion, aided by his cousin Adam Burke, 34, of White Lund Road, Morecambe, Beveridge targeted 86-year-old Eric Smith from Caton, near Lancaster.
He said: “Mr Smith had phoned Beveridge’s company out of the Yellow Pages about a leak. He was told it would cost £20,000 which he agreed to pay. He was persuaded to agree to more work andMr Smith handed over £84,928.
“A surveyor reported the work was substandard and incomplete and should have cost a maximum of £12,000.”
Defending Beveridge, Nick Courtney said he “accepted from the outset he did it for the money” because he was addicted to cocaine and alcohol.
Defending Burke, Lisa Roberts QC said his guilty plea had saved a victim from giving evidence and he had “entered the enterprise” when the agreement was already up and running. Judge Simon Newell jailed Burke for one year.