A Bournemouth builder is standing trial for fraud after allegedly conning a pensioner out of over £30,000.
John Hart was originally called by 76 year old David Taylor about a damp patch in his home, where he has lived all his life. However, Simon Foster, prosecuting, said that after looking at the house in October 2013, Hart announced that there were several other jobs that needed doing.
According to Foster, over the next few months Hart told his employer that he needed, among other things, a new bathroom suite, treatment for an infestation in his roof timbers and new paint to repair a damp problem.
Steve Longman, a subcontractor of Hart’s who later called the police about him, also claimed that the builder borrowed his claw hammer and ladder before smashing a hole in the ceiling of Mr Taylor’s bedroom. Hart then claimed that it, too, needed to be repaired.
Mr Hart is denying one count of fraud.
“The Crown’s case is whether that work was done properly or not, the defendant in this case could see both from his property and I fear from its owner a sort of profitable seam that was there for him to mine," said Foster.
As part of the case against Hart, a member of the Chartered Institute of Builders inspected his work. According to representative Charles Leigh-Dugmore, not only could most of the work have been completed for a fraction of the cost, but the insulation that Hart installed could have been provided for free under a number of schemes.
"He suggested to Mr Taylor that perhaps the loft needed some insulation: I have already told you what Mr Leigh-Dugmore said about that. Mr Taylor having been told so by Mr Hart thought this was so.
"He agreed to a further proposition that the roof needed some spraying because of an infestation. He can’t recall what price was quoted.
"Mr Hart went on to say his bathroom needed a complete refurbishment. The cost would be £13,000.
"The elderly Mr Taylor isn’t too sure of the dates and times but it doesn’t really matter."
Mr Hart claims that Mr Taylor originally told him that his entire house needed to be ‘done up’, and denies any wrongdoing.
The trial continues.