Rogue trader jailed for conning Chipping Sodbury pensioner

December 19 2017

A CHIPPING Sodbury pensioner was conned out of nearly £26,000 by a man who carried out unnecessary work on his house.

A CHIPPING Sodbury pensioner was conned out of nearly £26,000 by a man who carried out unnecessary work on his house.

John Docherty, 42, of Rochester, Kent, has now been sentenced to two years and three months in prison after admitting five counts of fraud when he appeared at Bristol Crown Court.

Docherty, who also uses the names John Casey and “Frank”, targeted the 73-year-old man in May 2016 by cold calling at his home.

 He said his name was Frank, that he had been working on a neighbouring property and had noticed excessive moss on his roof, which he offered to remove for £350. The resident agreed for that work to be done. 

A number of men worked on the property and during the next month, Docherty claimed numerous other problems needed immediate attention.

They included repairs to roof tiles, pointing of walls, strengthening waterlogged roof timbers and strengthening the A-frame in the roof. 

Fearful for the condition of his property, the resident agreed to all of the work being carried out but all payments were requested in cash and the pensioner was told not to tell the bank why he was withdrawing the money.

In total, Docherty was paid £25,800 for the work during May 2016. 

Docherty then claimed a further £20,000 of work was necessary to replace the damp proof course and for silicone injections in brick work.

He pressurised the pensioner to have the work done and said if he didn’t, he would report him to the local authority as someone who was living in a property unfit for human habitation. He also refused to continue with other work already paid for until the £20,000 was paid. 

The case was investigated and successfully prosecuted by South Gloucestershire Council’s trading standards team.

Working with Avon and Somerset Police and acting on a tip off, a police officer was waiting at the property when Docherty arrived to collect the £20,000.

He was arrested and charged but then absconded to Ireland and failed to appear for an initial court hearing in October 2016.

An application was made for a European Arrest Warrant and Docherty was finally arrested in Hampshire in September 2017 on an unrelated matter and taken into custody in Bristol.

A surveyor said it was difficult to justify why any of the work carried out it was necessary and described the workmanship as very poor.

Prosecution costs, compensation and Proceeds of Crime Act matters will be dealt with at a later hearing.