A BUILDER has been handed a 10 month suspended sentence for fraud offences against four Wirral residents.

Colin Maxwell, of George Road, Hoylake who traded as 'Household and Building Repairs' appeared at Liverpool Crown Court for sentencing on Tuesday, April 10 after already pleading guilty to eight counts of fraud at Wirral Magistrates Court on March 13.

In a prosecution brought by Wirral Trading Standards, Maxwell admitted quoting for work and taking cash from customers while having no intention to carry out the jobs he quoted.

In some cases, customers didn't see Maxwell again after paying him a fee.

Those who did receive work were left with half-finished jobs and had to pay someone else to finish jobs.

Among those he targeted was a person in their 80s and another who was seriously ill and undergoing medical treatment in hospital.

Sentencing Maxwell, Judge Flewitt QC concluded that there were several 'aggravating' factors in Maxwell's case including; fraudulent behaviour over a substantial period of time, the number and vulnerability of victims and the considerable detrimental effect of his behaviour on the victims.

Judge Flewitt QC described Maxwell's conduct as 'seriously dishonest' and he had acted in this way from the outset.

He also stated that Maxwell's failure to provide customers with a notice of their right to cancel the contract by virtue of the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 was done 'dishonestly' and was 'not an oversight'.

A spokesman for Wirral Trading Standards said: “While most traders carry out their business lawfully and treat consumers fairly, Trading Standards will always look to act against the minority of traders who target vulnerable people and act dishonestly.”

Judge Flewitt stated that the case passed the custody threshold and that Maxwell’s offences were worthy of a custodial sentence.

However this would deprive him of employment and ability to pay compensation to his victims.

He was instead sentenced to 15 months imprisonment with a discount of five months due to his early guilty pleas, this resulted in a 10 month custodial sentence, which was suspended for 18 months.

Maxwell was also sentenced to a 15 day rehabilitation requirement and told to undertake 240 hours unpaid work.

The Judge made compensation orders for all victims totalling under £6,000 as well as a victim surcharge.