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17 November 2014, 16:24 | Updated: 17 November 2014, 16:26
A Poole man has been jailed for defrauding a 64-year-old local woman of several thousand pounds.
Derek Montague, aged 41, of 26 Churchill Road was found guilty on 24 October 2014 of four counts of fraud and two additional charges in relation to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, following a successful prosecution by Borough of Poole Trading Standards.
Today (17 November) Mr Montague was given a custodial sentence of three and a half years.
The judge, Mr Recorder Bebb, said that the victim was in ill-health and on her own, clearly a very vulnerable lady who was reliant on and trusting of others. He was in no doubt that Mr Montague identified her as vulnerable and exploited her.
The offences related to gardening and external works carried out by Mr Montague to the victim's home over a period of seven months. The court heard that Mr Montague charged approximately £41,000 for work undertaken including erecting two trellises, boarding and insulating the loft space as well as pointing to outside walls.
He also failed to provide a written guarantee for the work undertaken.
Mr Montague was also found guilty of an 'aggressive practice' when he pressurised the victim to pay the additional £1,200 for removal of the garden shed and then accompanied her to the cashpoint to withdraw the money.
James Norman, Regulatory Team Manager, Borough of Poole Trading Standards said:
"This is a clear case of a trader willing to exploit the trust of a customer over a long period of time for his own profit.
"We are pleased with the sentence given, which sends a clear message that practices of this kind will not be tolerated in Poole.
"Trading Standards will use every means possible to bring to justice traders who mislead or exploit their customers."