Dodgy builders fleeced £53,000 out of dozens of victims

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

A dodgy builder who ripped off more than 30 customers has been jailed for 21 months.

Jonathan Jones appeared in the dock of Teesside Crown Court with business partner Rebecca Dack, who was given a suspended sentence.

The pair fleeced homeowners of £53,430 by charging for driveway and other building works which were either not done, or done to a standard described in court as ‘dreadful’.

Richard Bennett, prosecuting on behalf of Stockton Borough Council, said Dack and Jones traded as JBS Driveways Ltd and JBS Home Improvements Ltd from two small factory units in Billingham.

One of their victims was Lynne Whitford, who contacted the driveway company for a quote to resurface the backyard of her home in Meadow Avenue, Blackhall Colliery.

“Mrs Whitford was given a quote for £1,800,” said Mr Bennett. “She agreed for the work to go ahead, and paid a £600 deposit.

“Within 10 minutes of work starting, the men asked for a further £600, which was paid.

“The work halted, leaving rubble blocking the highway, which Mrs Whitford had to pay to be removed because the council would not have been able to empty the bins in the street.

“Mrs Whitford made at least 33 phone calls to Jones, only to be met with excuses for not resuming work such as the weather, or the van breaking down.”

Other householders had to suffer drain covers concreted in place, drains blocked, sewage flooding a patio, a leaking roof, sealant put over frozen pools of water, grass, dirt and bird droppings, and one customer was left for weeks without steps to her house.

Jones, 33, of Hazel Slade, Eaglecliffe, admitted 23 charges of recklessly engaging in a commercial practice, five charges of fraud, one charge of transferring criminal property, and one charge of acquiring criminal property.

Dack, 33, of Anlaby Close, Billingham, admitted eight charges of reckless trading, and two charges of engaging in a misleading commercial practice.

Peter Kilgour, for Jones, said his business had many satisfied customers, but he let standards slip after becoming addicted to gambling.

John Nixon, for Dack, said she had been brought in as a partner by Jones and would not have joined him had she known of his personal and business problems.

Judge Stephen Ashurst jailed Jones for 21 months, and sentenced Dack to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months.