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'To call you a cowboy builder would be a significant understatement': Judge slams rogue trader

PUBLISHED: 13:23 03 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:47 03 May 2019

Andrew Jay. Pic submitted.

Andrew Jay. Pic submitted.

Archant

A cowboy builder who conned homeowners out of £85,000 by failing to complete building work at their properties has been jailed for four years.

Ipswich Crown CourtIpswich Crown Court

Sentencing Andrew Jay, Judge David Goodin said his victims included a widow whose home was left uninhabitable and a man whose wife was recovering from an operation for cancer.

The judge said: “To call you a cowboy builder would be a significant understatement.”

In addition to jailing Jay, 56, he made him the subject of a five-year criminal behaviour order.

Jay, of Park Road, Lowestoft, who ran AGH Builders, pleaded guilty to eight offences of fraud.

He also admitted theft and breaching an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order) made by Norwich Crown Court in 2014 which banned him from operating a building company and entering into contracts which failed to abide by conditions.

Jay also admitted breaching a suspended sentence order of 16-months imprisonment, suspended for two years, imposed at Ipswich Crown Court in April 2017 for three offences of breaching a criminal behaviour order.

The fraud offences relate to properties in Essex Road, Marbella Green, Church Road and Corton Road in Lowestoft, Seafield Road North in Caister-on-Sea and Carlton Square in Carlton Colville.

A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act will take place in June.

The court heard that Jay was jailed for 28 months in 2014 for a string of similar offences which involved him pocketing thousands of pounds from customers for work he never completed.

John Morgans, for Jay, said his client was ashamed to be back before the court.

“He didn't set out to defraud people or cause harm to them,” Mr Morgans said.

“He wanted to earn a living in the trade he knew.

“He started off with the best of intentions but he was out of his depth.

“He recognises there is no future in him trying to run a business,” said Mr Morgans.

During Jay's sentencing hearing in 2014, the court heard he had advertised locally and used a number of fake names when visiting potential customers.

After agreeing to carry out work, Jay made a start – but in some cases he didn't complete it and asked for more money.

At four properties work was never started, and 10 customers paid Jay almost £50,000.

The court heard that only £250 had been repaid despite promises to repay more.

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