A dodgy handyman who conned a bed-ridden pensioner into paying him thousands of pounds has been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay back money to his victim.

Willam Bower of Tolney Lane, Newark, was issued with a 15 month sentence which has been suspended for two years at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday 27 January after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud last November.  Bower was also ordered to repay nearly £6,000, carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and keep to a curfew between the hours of 7pm and 6am.

Bower’s conviction and sentencing follow an investigation by Nottingham City Council Community Protection Trading Standards Service which found that he had approached an elderly bed-bound woman as a gardener, lied about his name and about work he falsely said he had carried out to gain money from her over a period of approximately six months.

Bower weaselled his way into the life of the lady, who lives alone; sending emails late into the night, sending her photographs of his wife in her sick bed and bringing his family to visit.  Throughout this time, the victim knew Mr Bower by another name.  The man pleaded poverty, asking for loans of cash and for payment of his van insurance, when his bank account records now show he had a healthy balance.

Bower also repeatedly approached the pensioner claiming that certain jobs needed doing around the house and then asked for payment.  However, when an expert inspected the woman’s property, it came to light that he hadn’t done many of the jobs he said he had and those he had done, he’d made a shoddy job of it.  The expert highlighted one example, where the conman said he had decorated rooms in the house, but painted around furniture.

The lady believed the man to be a friend and therefore relied on him to tell the truth about the work he was doing; she couldn’t get out of bed to check for herself.  Mr Bower relied on her vulnerability, knowing that she couldn’t see what he was (or wasn’t) doing for her money.

Mr Bower not only provided false details to this victim, but also to a recommended trader website which he had previously been kicked off due to complaints.  It was on this website, Mr Bower initially found his victim.

Consumers looking to have work done at home are urged to get at least three quotations from traders before employing anyone and also getting recommendations from friends or family.  Fully vetted and monitored traders can be found on www.checkatrade.com or by telephone on 0800 458 1234 or 01243 608801.  Checkatrade work in partnership with Nottingham City Council Trading Standards Service.

Consumers can also contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 if they are concerned about doorstep callers or problems with work carried out on their homes.