Bransgore rogue trader Alex Martin jailed after conning Warwickshire woman out of £93,000
A ROGUE trader from Bransgore has been jailed after conning a vulnerable Warwickshire woman out of £93,000 to fund a gambling habit.
Alex Martin (30), of Rosehill Drive, was sentenced to two years in prison after charging the woman "exorbitant amounts" for work on her house, 200 miles from Martin's home.
The prosecution was brought by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards after a complaint about Martin from a family member of the victim.
Between 2017 and 2018, Martin, who traded as Ideal Home Systems Ltd out of Station Road, Sway, made several visits to the south Warwickshire victim’s home.
He repeatedly scammed the vulnerable resident, charging for work he said he had carried out to her roof, including cleaning, applying 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 the guttering and downpipes were clear, and a wall may have been cleaned. The value of this work was described as "negligible".
It emerged that he was using the victim’s money to fund a substantial gambling habit.
In sentencing Martin at Warwick Crown Court, Recorder Matthew Boyle said the court took a very dim view of exploitation.
Martin, who had been banned from being a company director, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Fraud Act and one offence under the Companies Act. He was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, given a five-year criminal behaviour order and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge and £10,000 prosecution costs. When trading standards launched their investigation, Martin began paying back the money he had taken. At court he was ordered to pay the balance owed of £4,900.
Representing Martin, Jamie Gammon said 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, community safety boss, 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."