A criminal builder who conned a Bilborough resident out of nearly £6,000 has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
Jason Clarke, pictured, plead guilty to fraud when he appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday and was also ordered to repay the outstanding amount owed to the victim of £4,796.55.
The householder had arranged for a number of quotes in April 2019 to remove a wall and fit a new kitchen. Over the next fortnight, a total of £5,680 was sent in bank transfers to Clarke for the purchase of materials.
No receipts were provided despite repeated requests from the victim, and by the end of the month Clarke had failed to start any work and was no longer contactable.
Clarke, of Maplin Road, Leicester, was given a nine-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, 120 hours of unpaid work and the compensation award to the victim.
The prosecution, brought by Nottingham City Council’s Trading Standards department, is the second one against Clarke in less than a year.
The 35-year-old admitted three charges of fraud in July 2019, for which he was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, and 150 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to repay £3,067 to his three Nottingham victims.
Between May and October 2018, Clarke was contacted through Facebook and agreed to building work. Two jobs were for garden landscaping and the other for a bathroom refit.
In two of the cases, he was paid upfront and then completed less than a day’s work. In the third case, he was paid in full for the job but did no work whatsoever.
The offence for which he was sentenced this week occurred prior to his court appearance in 2019, and so did not trigger the suspended prison sentence.
Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Growth and the City Centre, said: “This is the second time that Trading Standards has brought this individual before the courts for targeting people in Nottingham. Our Community Protection staff work tirelessly to protect the public and will continue to do so.
“Mr Clarke clearly has no regard for the impact that this type of fraud has on its victims. People are left thousands of pounds out of pocket, their home in a state of disrepair and their confidence shaken.
“We hope this is the last we see of Mr Clarke in Nottingham but he can be assured that we will vigorously investigate any further reports we might get about him, or any other rogue trader operating in this area.”
He added: “Our advice is always to seek two or three quotes for any job, and try to take recommendations for reliable and reputable tradespeople. Never sign up to anything, or agree a job, on the doorstep or after a quick search on the internet or social media.
“What can often compound the situation is that victims are reluctant to come forward and report the rogue trader because they feel embarrassed about admitting they were deceived into handing over money.
“However, it’s really important that they do contact us in those circumstances. We will investigate any incident like this and as well as being able to warn other people, we can secure prosecutions against offenders providing we have the evidence to put before the courts.”
Anyone wishing to report a rogue trader, or seeking more information or advice, is asked to call Nottingham City Council trading standards on 0808 223 1133.