A gardener and handyman has been sentenced to 20 months in jail, suspended for two years, after he defrauded a vulnerable elderly resident out of more than £6,000.
Steven Maycock, 35, of Stanley Road, Stocksbridge was brought to court by Sheffield City Council Trading Standards.
He pleaded guilty to an offence under the Fraud Act 2006 and was sentenced on 21 December at Sheffield Crown Court.
He was also ordered to do 200 hours' unpaid work, banned from any contact with the victim and required to do six months’ rehabilitation for his alcohol/drug use.
The court heard that, while trading as a gardener, Maycock befriended the victim and created a position of trust with her over a number of years.
The defendant had presented himself as honest and hardworking and offered to carry out building repair work for a fraction of the cost of other builders, the council said.
Money was handed over in advance but no materials were purchased and no work was completed by Maycock.
The council’s Trading Standards were alerted by a police community support officer from South Yorkshire Police who had been approached by a taxi driver, concerned that he had driven the victim to the bank many times and each time she had told him she needed money to pay her builder.
Over the course of a few months in early 2018, the investigation revealed that Maycock had defrauded his victim out of more than £6,000, telling her he needed the money for building materials.
The council found that Maycock had promised to carry out repairs to the garden building and rebuild the porch on the victim’s house. He told her he had fitted a new security door to her garden building, even giving her a key as reassurance. He also put dates in her diary when tradesmen were coming to rebuild her porch and told her part of the garden cottage roof had been repaired. None of this was true, Sheffield Council said.
The defendant had initially claimed he had purchased building materials and these were stored in a secure lock-up, then that he had been assisted by another man who had taken the money. He finally admitted that there were no building materials in storage and he had spent the money himself.
Cllr Karen McGowan from Sheffield City Council, added: “This was an awful crime against a vulnerable individual and it’s with great thanks to the local community that this predator has been stopped. It is our duty to prevent such offences and we will always act on information and work hard to protect residents from people like Mr Maycock.”