‘It makes me feel like a silly sod’ – victim’s tears after being targeted by cowboy workmen in South Shields

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An injury victim was reduced to tears after cowboy workmen charged him £950 for jobs that were barely done,

The 56-year-old man, who has a brain injury, felt forced to hand over cash to have his drive steam cleaned, paving stones repaired and grouting upgraded.

I have been in tears thinking about what happened, how could I have been so daft.

A victim of Charles Doherty

Newcastle Crown court heard the “cold callers”, who convinced him he needed the work done, took him on two separate trips to make sure they got their cash.

In exchange for the £950 he handed over for improvements to his home in South Shields, the confused victim received steam-clean work, worth £150 at the most, and nothing else.

Charles Doherty, who has a previous conviction for a similar scam against an 88-year-old victim, admitted fraud and was jailed for nine months yesterday.

A second man involved in the cruel scheme has never been caught.

Judge John Milford jailed Doherty, 38, of Ash Green Way, Bishop Auckland, for nine months.

The judge told him: “I am satisfied that it was no coincidence that it was his door you knocked upon. You did so because he was a vulnerable man.

“It is about as mean an offence as one can imagine, save that you have done worse back in 2008 when you carried out the same sort of crime where the victim was over 80 years of age.”

The court heard the recent scam, in February, has had a devastating effect on the victim, who already felt anxious because of his condition.

In a statement to police he described how he is easily confused as a result of his injury and added: “I feel stupid for giving them so much money.

“I feel I am really thick for doing this. I keep thinking it is my fault, I took them to the bank.

“It makes me feel like a silly sod.

“I have been in tears thinking about what happened, how could I have been so daft.

“I am a fool for being so trusting.

“I feel frightened in case they come back or other people come back. “

The victim said his ordeal has made him think a lot about his late mother and he said he wished she was here “to chase them away”.

Vic Laffey, defending, said Doherty has been out of trouble for over ten years and looks after his children due to his wife’s poor health.

Mr Laffey said; “The family would suffer significantly from the loss of their father.”