Builder jailed for four years after ripping off customers for £85,000

Andrew Jay was jailed for four years after he conned homeowners out of £85,000 by failing to complet

Andrew Jay was jailed for four years after he conned homeowners out of £85,000 by failing to complete building work at their properties. Picture: Suffolk Constabulary - Credit: 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.

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.

“To call you a cowboy builder would be a significant understatement,” said the judge.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, told Ipswich Crown Court that Jay targeted elderly and vulnerable people and agreed to do building work which was either done badly or not done at all.

He said a resident of Kimberley Road, in Lowestoft, whose wife was recovering from a cancer operation, arranged for Jay to extend his kitchen.

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The kitchen units were removed and left in the garden, and when Jay’s workmen came back to the house several months later to put them back they were rotten and covered in mould.

A widow who paid Jay to carry out work at her home in Church Road, Lowestoft, was forced to sell her home at auction at a loss after it was left uninhabitable by Jay, despite her paying him more than £80,000.

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Jay, of Park Road, Lowestoft, admitted eight offences of fraud, 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.

He 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 related to properties in Essex Road, Marbella Green, Church Road and Corton Road in Lowestoft, Seafield Road North in Caister and Carlton Square in Carlton Colville.

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. 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 said.

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