Builder Patrick Doran bullied pensioners in Leicestershire for cash
A builder intimidated and bullied his pensioner customers for money after carrying out substandard work, a court heard.
Patrick Doran boasted of being the "UK's number one" for block paving services and home improvements.
However, Leicester Crown Court heard the way the 22-year-old intimidated his customers broke the law and his work was not up to scratch.
Judge Simon Hammond told Doran, who was given a suspended sentence: "There is no coincidence you chose people somewhat advanced in age in their 60s and one who was 80. Targeting an 80-year-old was disgraceful.
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"The victims acted with remarkable fortitude and I congratulate them."
The court heard the intimidated customers included a retired man from Sapcote who arranged to have a £2,500 driveway installed.
Half-way through the work the defendant downed tools and demanded full payment in an intimidating manner, insisting he needed to buy materials.
John Hallissey, prosecuting, said the victim stood firm against paying in cash and ultimately paid £2,500.
An 80-year-old man, also from Sapcote, was bullied and intimidated by Doran in relation to a £1,450 driveway.
When the victim did not want to pay for the unprofessional job which had Tarmac in two different shades, Doran produced a pick-axe and threatened to dig up the drive.
In the end, the pensioner paid £900 to the defendant.
A 64-year-old woman, from Earl Shilton, originally agreed to have a £120 Tarmac path.
Doran then said more work was needed, costing about £600, and then demanded £320 to seal the drive, which the woman refused.
When she offered a cheque for the agreed amount, he tried to insist on taking her to the bank to get cash but she refused.
Doran, of Gapton Hall Road, Great Yarmouth, pleaded guilty to three counts of engaging in aggressive commercial practice against three pensioners, between January and November last year.
He also admitted fraudulently representing to a victim that he would be carrying out a competent job.
Doran was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to pay £900 compensation to the 80-year old victim and £1,000 costs.
In mitigation, Sarah Barlow said her client was from the travelling community and had no formal education and could not read or write.
She said his biological family had sent him out as a 13-year-old to collect money for a non-existent charity and he was found guilty of obtaining money by deception.
She said: "He is ashamed of what he has done and now works for his father-in-law."
The offence of aggressive commercial practice is relatively new and carries a maximum jail term of two years.
After the hearing, David Bull, head of Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards, said: "This is one of the first prosecutions we have brought under this legislation, with particular reference to agressive selling. It is a satisfactory outcome."