Bogus builder from Leeds fleeced vulnerable man then went on run for eight years

A bogus builder from Leeds who helped fleece a vulnerable victim out of more than £13,000 before evading justice for eight years has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 11:45 am

John White, of Throstle Terrace Middleton, Leeds, and two accomplices took the 39-year-old man's cash after telling him there were leaking pipes at his home in late 2012, Leeds Crown Court heard.

The victim withdrew a total of £13,350 from his bank and handed the cash over for roofing work, which was not done.

White was arrested on May 7 2013 and gave no comments in a police interview before being released on bail.

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Leeds Crown Court

He failed to answer bail on November 26 2013 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

White, 40, was not arrested on that warrant until February 25 this year.

Father of two White admitted fraud by false representation between October 28 2012 and November 8 2012 when he appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court on February 26 this year.

Martin Robertshaw, prosecuting, said the bail act offence was withdrawn when White appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court.

Mr Robertshaw said the fraud came to light during a police operation targeting bogus building work in Leeds and Newcastle areas.

When the victim, from County Durham, withdrew £2,000 from his bank on October 20 2012, police obtained a cell site mobile phone analysis which showed White's phone was near the bank when the withdrawal was made.

The cash was put in a bank account belonging to a man who White had exchanged 10 phone calls with.

White has 11 previous convictions for 17 offences including burglary, theft, assaulting a police officer, possession of cocaine and possession of cannabis.

Judge Simon Phillips QC made a compensation order for £13,350 and ordered it to be paid in full within 28 days.

Handing White an 18 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, Judge Simon Phillips QC, told him: "This was mean, deliberate, targeted offending.

"You have children. You are remorseful. You have been working in the intervening period.

"You have secured the offer of employment with Demolition Services Ltd.

"They are paying the compensation, which they recognise is your obligation and they will claw that back from your earnings."

White must also complete 15 rehabilitation activity days and a four month alcohol treatment programme.