A bogus builder who fooled elderly residents into paying £43,5000 for “subpar” and unnecessary work has been jailed.

Danny Preece, 47, of Walker Yard, Eversley Road, Arborfield Cross appeared before Reading Crown Court on October 16, and pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and three counts of engaging in unfair commercial practice.

His victims included an extremely vulnerable elderly couple, aged 91 and 89 who suffered with dementia and were ‘craving contact’ following the pandemic.

This incident occurred in 2021 over the course of three months. When examined by a surveyor the work was described as ‘unnecessary, vastly overpriced, and completed to an extremely poor standard.’

In a passing sentence, Miss Recorder Drake said: “You befriended two vulnerable people, not least because of their age and {one victim having} dementia, but probably due to the lockdowns in 2020 after which elderly people craved contact. 

“Your acts were deliberate and you targeted them to get money for yourself and your family.  Greed and laziness were your driving factors.

“You were made subject to a Criminal Behaviour Order only 2 years before you befriended them, when it was made blindingly obvious to you that you shouldn’t seek work in this way and that you must inform people of relevant cooling-off periods.”

Mr Preece was sentenced to 40 months of immediate custodial sentence on November 24 at Reading Crown Court.

Miss Drake added: “I agree with the prosecution that this is a case of the highest culpability.  This was a sustained campaign against two people in which you involved others while you inveigled your way into their lives.  Your offending has cast a shadow over their final years.”

Commenting on the sentence, Cllr Ian Shenton, Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Leisure said: “The sentence handed down to Mr Preece today reflected the severity of the offending which was perpetrated on a vulnerable elderly local couple.

“Our trading standards service will look to investigate matters where victims are subject to fraud and unfair trading of this nature and we would urge residents that have concerns about activity of this nature to contact the service on 01635 519930 or e-mail tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk