Con man gardener duped trusting 83-year-old in Upper Norwood
A con man gardener who preyed on a trusting 83-year-old man has narrowly avoided jail after being caught out by the victim's neighbour.
Jason Jones, of Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, billed his elderly victim for more than £7,000 after repeatedly carrying out needless work on his elderly victim's Upper Norwood home.
Some of the work, including power-washing a roof, was said by a surveyor to have actually worsened the condition of the man's home.
Jones, trading as Jason's Tree and Landscapes, contacted the victim on at least three occasions within a year.
The fraudster pocketed more than £3,000 from the first two visits before returning to continue the scam, taking advantage of his victim's trusting nature and poor memory by claiming he needed to finish the earlier jobs.
The victim could not remember what work Jones had completed.
But the 83-year-old's neighbour, after growing suspicious, persuaded him to cancel cheques for a further £4,000 before they reached Jones's bank account.
The neighbour called the police, who suspected Jones to be a rogue trader and enlisted Croydon Council's trading standards team.
Jones pleaded guilty to three counts of aggressive trading practices at Croydon Crown Court last week.
He was jailed for four months, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work as well as pay his victim £3,100 compensation and costs of £5,000.
Councillor Simon Hoar, Croydon Council's cabinet member for consumer protection, said: "This is a great result for our trading standards team, and the total bill of £8,180 that Jones now faces is bigger than the amount which he tried to con from the victim.
"Quite apart from the suspended prison sentence and order for unpaid work, this shows that crime does not pay.
"Justice was possible only because of the actions of the concerned neighbour, enabling the suspect to be caught red-handed.
"This case highlights how important it is for all Croydon residents to look out for their neighbours, particularly those who might be vulnerable by virtue of their age or living situation."
Anybody with concerns about traders operating in their neighbourhood can call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506.
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