Victim, 89, paid back £20,000 by crooked builder

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An 89-year-old woman received an early Christmas present after a bogus builder was finally forced to repay her more than £20,000 after the enforced sale of his house.

The pensioner, who wants to remain anonymous, shared a home with her sister in the Granville Road area of Sheffield when workers from a firm named Marshall Tufflex Roofline Systems called unexpectedly in November 2003.

They claimed that urgent work was needed on the roof and other areas of the property.

Believing that the work was essential and the builders were honest, the victim paid for repairs to be carried out during a number of visits throughout the next year. She handed over a total of £22,440 to the men.

A qualified chartered surveyor later examined the address and stated that the work was either not required, not completed, or finished to such a poor standard that it would need replacing.

The situation was reported to South Yorkshire Police and following a detailed investigation, Dan Ward, 63, from Selston, Nottinghamshire, was arrested in April 2006.

He was convicted at Sheffield Crown Court on October 28, 2007, of conspiracy to defraud the pensioner, along with other offences, and sentenced to a total of five-and-half-years’ imprisonment.

After lengthy confiscation proceedings, an order was also made against Ward to pay £330,501 within six months.

His assets included his home, which he had previously tried to pass on to his daughter.

Ward did not attempt to pay the order and is now serving a jail term of three years and three months as a punishment for defaulting on the order.

Meanwhile his house was sold in August this year after a successful High Court application, enabling Ward’s elderly victim to be fully compensated last week.

South Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit manager, Graham Wragg, said: “Although it’s taken many years for police to recover the money, we are pleased to have played our part in ensuring that the sum lost by the victim in this case was repaid.

“Elderly and vulnerable people should take extra care in answering the door to uninvited callers claiming to be professionals and wanting to work for them. If in any doubt, people should politely refuse and close the door.”