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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Cumbrian conman sent to jail for £1,000 roof scam

A conman has been jailed for swindling an elderly man out of nearly £1,000.

Patrick Beard photo
Patrick Beard

Patrick Beard called unannounced at the home of John Elliott in September last year offering to repair the roof of the 85-year-old’s home.

Mr Elliott was described as vulnerable as he was showing early signs of dementia and short-term memory loss, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Beard, 29, of Ghyllbank Park, Low Harker, near Carlisle, took a total of £990 in cash and cheques from him for the work.

Mr Elliott even wrote out further cheques for £1,200 and £2,000 but never handed them over.

Beard was jailed for 14 months, to follow on from a three-and-a-half sentence he is currently serving following a similar offence carried out in October 2010 in Carlisle.

The court heard that Beard had been on bail at the time following that earlier offence.

Michael Graham, prosecuting, said Beard visited Mr Elliott’s home over three days to carry out the work, receiving cash payments totalling £190 and later being given cheques for £200, £300 and £300.

Mr Graham said: “Mr Elliott lived alone in Tynemouth, and his physical and mental health had deteriorated after he was hospitalised in 2010.

“The defendant attended his home and told Mr Elliott that work was required on the roof and guttering.”

On one visit, Mr Elliott’s son Simon found his father in an agitated and frustrated state, saying he was having difficulty getting money for the workman and thanking his son for sending him round.

“Simon Elliott asked his father when the workman was coming back, insisting he get a receipt for the work done,” said Mr Graham.

A local building examiner checked the work carried out and valued it between £360 and £410.

Beard was arrested after his final visit to Mr Elliott’s home, being stopped by police as he returned to his van.

He initially told police that his father had requested he carry out the work before giving “no comment” answers to further questions.

Beard pleaded guilty to fraud by misrepresentation.

Joe Hedworth, defending, said: “Beard accepts full responsibility for this unpleasant offending.

“He is greatly ashamed of his actions and gives his most sincere apologies to Mr Elliott for the undoubted distress that he caused in September last year.

“This course of offending lasted less than one week and the value was just short of £1,000.”

Sentencing him, Judge Roger Thorn told Beard: “You have a formidable record of offences of dishonesty and, in particular, fraud.

“While you were on bail for offences of a similar nature, you went and committed the worst offence, given the particularly elderly and vulnerable victim, who was in the early signs of dementia.”

Last year Beard was jailed for three-and-a-half after a jury at Carlisle Crown Court found him guilty of trying to con a woman out of £10,000.

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