A rogue trader from Bransgore who defrauded a vulnerable elderly woman of more than £93,000 to fund a gambling habit has been jailed for two years. 

The prosecution was brought by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service following an investigation.

Between 2017 and 2018, Alex Daniel Martin, age 30, of Rosehill Drive, Bransgore, who traded as Ideal Home Systems Limited in Sway, made multiple visits to the South Warwickshire victim’s home, despite the 30-year-old living 200 miles away.

He is said to have repeatedly scammed the vulnerable resident, charging her high amounts for work he told her he had carried out to her roof, including cleaning, the application of an anti-fungal spray and repointing.

The victim also made a large upfront payment for a ‘bespoke driveway’. An expert surveyor concluded that the only evidence of any work being done was that the guttering and downpipes were clear, and that a wall may have been cleaned.

The value of this work was described as ‘negligible’. It transpired that Martin was using the victim’s money to fund a substantial gambling habit.

Trading Standards Officers launched an investigation in August 2018 after they received a complaint about the trader from a family member of the victim.

Martin was sentenced on Monday, June 13 at Warwick Crown Court. Recorder Matthew Boyle presiding remarked that the court took a very dim view of exploitation.

Alex Martin was sentenced to two years imprisonment after pleading guilty to two offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and one offence under the Companies Act 2006 at an earlier hearing.

A criminal behaviour order was also imposed for a five year period which will come to an end on June 12, 2027.

The defendant was ordered to pay a victim surcharge and £10,000 prosecution costs.

When Warwickshire Trading Standards launched their investigation, Martin began to pay back the money he had taken from the victim.

He was ordered by the court to pay the balance owed of £4900.

Martin was already banned from being a company director.

In mitigation, Mr Jamie Gammon representing Martin stated that his client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, was paying the money back that he had taken and had sought help for his gambling issues.

Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, the portfolio holder for community safety said: “This has been a very lengthy and complicated investigation, but I’m delighted that our Trading Standards Service has been able to bring about a successful prosecution.”

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