Hartlepool conman facing jail after targeting 83-year-old

Two cowboy builders are facing jail after they fleeced a pensioner out of thousands of pounds.

Thursday, 29th September 2016, 4:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 1:44 pm
Teesside Crown Court

John Coverdale and Anthony Turner did shoddy work on the drive and exterior of their 83-year-old victim’s house, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The pair even painted over roofing felt to make it look as if they had replaced a tile.

Coverdale, from Hartlepool, also took the elderly victim’s bank card and stole more than £7,300.

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“The pair called one day to say they were doing other work in the area,” said Paul Newcombe, prosecuting. “It is our case the victim, who lives alone, was vulnerable and was targeted for that reason.

“They convinced the man to have work done using a friendly and convincing approach.

“The victim eventually paid £3,130 for work which was substandard, and according to a chartered surveyor who later examined it, would cost £3,030 to put right.”

Mr Newcombe listed a catalogue of faults, including poor preparation of the driveway, the use of cheap plastic flashing instead of lead flashing, and new pointing put over old.

“A missing roof tile was not replaced.” added Mr Newcombe. “Instead, they painted over the felt to make it look as if there was a tile.”

The court was told police were called after the victim noticed £7,320 was missing from his account.

“Coverdale made 25 transactions with the victim’s card,” said Mr Newcombe. “These were unrelated to the building work, he was just stealing money.

“It appears he managed to acquire the card’s PIN number, possibly when the victim used the card while he was standing behind.

“He later took the card on a number of occasions while he was in and out of the victim’s house doing the building work.”

During a three-day trial, both men told the court the work had been done to a reasonable standard, and they would have sorted out any snags given the opportunity.

Coverdale said he was only the hired help, and was following instructions.

Turner said he didn’t know he had employed a drug addict.

Both men denied two charges of fraud in February, last year, but were convicted by the jury.

Coverdale admitted fraud in relation to his use of the bank card.

Also in the dock was Sandra Turner, who is Anthony Turner’s sister and was Coverdale’s partner.

She was convicted of acquiring criminal property by allowing Coverdale to use the victim’s bank card to top up her mobile phone.

Coverdale, 34, of Dent Street, Hartlepool, and Anthony Turner, 37, of Windermere Guest House, New Brancepeth, County Durham, were remanded in custody by Judge Simon Phillips QC,

Sandra Turner, 33, of Oxford Terrace, Bishop Auckland, was bailed.

The judge told the three: “Custody is at the forefront of my mind.”

All three defendants are due to be sentenced on October 20.