A TAX-DODGING rogue builder with no anus walked free from court partly over fears his medical condition would be exacerbated by prison.

David Reed swindled many of his elderly customers by refusing to provide cost estimates and then drastically overcharging them, with one man forced to withdraw money from his pension.

The Finchampstead builder netted more than £200,000 in fraudulent gains from 2007 to 2014, as well as cheating the Taxman out of £50,000.

Reed, who had emergency surgery to remove his anus in 2014 and whose life is significantly affected by his illeo-anal pouch, began over-charging Reading, Henley and Wokingham residents when the building market collapsed in 2008.

“Mr Reed would turn up on a cold call, take a look around and come back with a price,” prosecuting lawyer Richard Beynon told Reading Crown Court.

“There was never any estimates written down. He was quick to get a foot in and once he was in, he was in.

“One victim said it got to a point where it became easier just to say 'yes'. Most of the victims say they have been affected by a breach of trust.”

Despite his firm Able Roofing completing the work to an acceptable standard, Reed aggressively overcharged his customers.

Victims described the father of four as “pushy”, “persistent” and “intimidating”, with one man withdrawing money from his pension after Reed kept coming round demanding payment.

Another took out a £5,000 loan to meet the soaring costs of the building firm.

When the Taxman finally caught up with Reed he went to two of his customers' houses and forcefully urged them not to help the Revenue's investigations.

Having pleaded guilty in November last year, the grandfather of ten avoided being put behind bars.

“Many of the complainants were happy with the work he had done,” said Leon Kazakos, defending.

“Because he found himself in financial difficulty he allowed himself to be led into dishonesty.”

Reed has since paid back £200,000 to his victims.

The lawyer also emphasised how much the defendant, who has to empty his pouch regularly throughout the day and night, would suffer in prison.

Addressing Reed and his son Adam, who pleaded guilty to two lesser money laundering charges, Judge Ian Grainger said: “I have to sentence two men for their part in the dishonest running of a small family business.

“This was a long series of disgraceful offending against people that trusted you, some of whom were elderly or otherwise vulnerable.

“You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself and you do appear to be. But for your illnesses and you repaying the money a custodial sentence would be unavoidable.”

David Reed, of Nine Mile Ride, was sentenced to two years for 25 counts of fraud and eight months for tax evasion, with the sentences running concurrently and suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to follow an electronic curfew for four months.

His son, Adam Reed, also of Nine Mile Ride, was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.