Serial cowboy builder conned elderly woman just weeks after being released from prison

A prolific cowboy builder will be sentenced after he cruelly conned an elderly woman, tricking her into paying £700 for a paint job and taking an extra £500 as a personal tip.

Saturday, 24th October 2020, 10:33 am

Serial fraudster Anthony Jarrett attended the 88-year-old woman’s South Tyneside home four times earlier in October after tricking her into agreeing to pay £700 for a painting job.

The work itself was worth around £120 but Jarrett saw an opportunity to take advantage.

He persuaded his elderly victim to drive him to a supermarket where he used her bank card to withdraw a total of £1,290 over a four-day period.

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Anthony Jarrett will be sentenced next month

After the victim’s nephew was alerted to the dwindling funds, police were swiftly called and soon found a makeshift receipt inside the woman’s home titled ‘AJ Services’.

Suspecting Jarrett was the likely culprit, police attended the woman’s home early the next day and waited inside – before putting their prime suspect in handcuffs when he knocked at the door.

The 43-year-old crook had only been released from prison four weeks earlier after being convicted of a string of similar fraud offences.

Jarrett, of Hudson Road, Sunderland, admitted fraud by false representation when he appeared before magistrates in South Tyneside on Tuesday (October 21). He is due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court next month.

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Detective Sergeant Emma Martin, of Northumbria Police, said: “The selfishness and brazen nature of Jarrett’s offending was absolutely appalling.

“He knowingly and willingly targeted a vulnerable member of the public, tricking her into handing over an extortionate amount of her hard-earned savings.

“He added insult to injury by asking his victim to drive him to nearby supermarkets where he used her bank card to withdraw not only the £700 agreed, but almost another £500 as some kind of personal tip.

“Thankfully, we were alerted by the victim’s relative who noticed the substantial sums of money that had disappeared from the account – and that allowed us to quickly identify Jarrett as the likely offender.”

Det Sgt Martin has now asked families across Northumbria to be remain vigilant and check on vulnerable loved ones.

“Unfortunately, these type of fraudsters target the most vulnerable in our communities and trick them into handing over their money,” Det Sgt Martin said.

“This type of exploitation will not be tolerated and it’s imperative individuals like Jarrett are brought to justice.

“It is equally important that the public, especially those living alone, are aware of this type of criminality and do not fall victim themselves.

“Please be vigilant if you are approached by a doorstep tradesman and do not hand over large sums of money before work is carried out.

"Anybody with concerns, or who is suspicious of a worker, is encouraged to ring 101.”

Jarrett will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on November 17.

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