A rogue trader who fleeced thousands of pounds from 14 victims across Suffolk and Norfolk has been jailed for 28 months and given a five-year Asbo.

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Andrew Jay, 52, of Gorleston Road in Lowestoft took money from customers of his building and gardening company but failed to complete the work, or in some cases did no work at all. Jay also used cheques from a closed bank account to obtain goods.

He operated his business under various names including Manor Farm Works, S&N Builders and S&N Landscaping.

Jay used a number of fake names when visiting potential customers to give quotes.

Between February 2010 and August 2012 Jay quoted for and agreed to carry out work at residential properties in Woodton, Scratby, Carlton Colville, Lowestoft, Worlingham, Gorleston and Belton.

The work ranged from an extension and a loft conversion to driveways and decking. In some cases work started and parts of the jobs were completed, but Jay was unable to complete the work and asked for more money. When the customers refused, he threatened some of them. Work never began at four locations.

Ten customers paid Jay almost £50,000, but so far only £250 has been refunded despite promises to return far more. One had to pay more than she paid Jay to put right damage he had caused and work he had left unfinished.

Jay also used cheques to pay for two vehicles and goods from individuals and companies in Melton, Mendlesham, Lowestoft and Beeston, but the cheques bounced. Jay obtained nearly £6,000 of items in this way.

Jay came to the attention of the police and trading standards as over a period of time a number of members of the public came forward.

Officers from Norfolk Constabulary’s rogue trader team, Operation RADAR, and Suffolk Trading Standards investigated the numerous complaints they had received.

Jay subsequently admitted 14 counts of fraud at Norwich Crown Court, where he was sentenced today.

He was given the Asbo to control his future trading.

Detective Constable Debbie Johnston from Operation RADAR said: “Andrew Jay’s bungling and fraudulent attempts to run a building and gardening business caused misery to those who were taken in by his initial charming and convincing sales pitch. Whilst the odd piece of work was completed, the majority took weeks or months to progress, if at all, and some jobs were left partially finished and in a dangerous condition.

“Jay put pressure on his customers to pay up front and continue to pay when work was not progressing. Those who stood up to Jay were threatened and many felt so intimidated or were desperate to have the work done that they felt they had no choice but to pay.”

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