Stourport landscape gardener who preyed on OAP spared jail

A LANDSCAPE gardener, who preyed on a vulnerable 83-year-old homeowner charging excessive fees for shoddy unnecessary work, has been spared jail.

Jason Jones, 42, of Worcester Road, Titton, Stourport, harassed the pensioner – described as “very trusting and very friendly” - who was charged over £7,000 for the work on his south London property.

A concerned neighbour, who feared the victim was being ripped off, called the police and Croydon Council's trading standards team launched an investigation.

Now Jones has been sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to perform 100 hours unpaid community service work. He was also ordered to pay his victim £3,100 compensation.

Jones pleaded guilty at Croydon Crown Court to engaging in aggressive commercial practice between August 23 last year and February 22 that amounted to harassment in relation to work on the driveway, patio, walkway, roof and gutters on the Upper Norwood property.

Jones also pleaded guilty to three counts of contravening professional diligence, which included the unnecessary jet-washing of the property's roof and carrying out the jet-washing, sanding and gritting of the driveway and walkway to a poor standard.

The court heard the victim's neighbour feared the pensioner was being conned by Jason's Tree and Landscapes after a similar incident involving other rogue traders, who took money from the elderly man.

The investigation revealed Jones had visited the property on at least three occasions over the course of a year, with the victim agreeing to any work that was suggested.

A surveyor described the method used to power wash the house's roof had a detrimental effect on the condition of the tiles.

Jones extracted over £3,000 during his first two visits and, taking advantage of the victim's trusting nature and poor memory, returned, claiming he needed to finish earlier jobs.

The victim could not remember what had been done and Jones had not provided a schedule of works to which he could refer.

The neighbour who called the police persuaded the pensioner to cancel cheques for a further sum of more than £4,000 before they reached Jones’ bank account.

Croydon councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for consumer protection, said after Jones was sentenced: “This is a great result for our trading standards team and the total bill of £8,180 that Jones now faces is bigger than the amount which he tried to con from the victim.

“Quite apart from the suspended prison sentence and order for unpaid work, this shows that crime does not pay.

“Justice was possible only because of the actions of the concerned neighbour, enabling the suspect to be caught red-handed.

“This case highlights how important it is for all residents to look out for their neighbours, particularly those who might be vulnerable by virtue of their age or living situation.”

Jones was also ordered to pay Croydon Council £5,000 costs and pay an £80 victim surcharge.

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