A ROGUE builder whose threats frightened two elderly customers into paying for unfinished work has been jailed for 18 months.

Jason Costner, from Saltburn, left a 73-year-old man with a hole in his roof over a snowy Christmas, and a 77-year-old woman with no water for five months.

The 41-year-old problem-drinker, of Emerald Street, Saltburn, was locked up  at Teesside Crown Court yesterday (Monday, February 4) after pleading guilty to ten charges of fraud.

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Recorder Brian Cox QC also imposed a two-year restraining order banning Costner from contacting the vulnerable OAPs, who have homes in Guisborough.

Prosecutor Rebecca Brown said the pair were taken in by his offers to do work for them.

Costner told the man that he would repair his roof for free, although he ended up paying a total of £1,876.

He began by saying that the roof needed re-pointing, during which he broke a window and he charged him £145 for a new frame. Costner said that it also needed new tiles and lead flashing, which he failed to complete.

Miss Brown said that the roof was left exposed over Christmas 2010 during heavy snow, and when Costner spoke to the man's insurers he pocketed the £750 payout.

No work was done, and Costner told him that scaffolding was needed. The man handed over more money but nothing appeared.

The man finally hired somebody else to finish the job, and it was completed in a day for just £60.

The woman, who had known Costner when he was her window cleaner, ended up paying him £520 after she asked him to fix her television aerial.

She needed work done in her bathroom, and Costner removed the tiles and pulled the sink away from the wall.

Miss Brown said: "For five months she was without water, having to wash herself in the kitchen, and she was without a television."

Costner was warned by police for harassing the man in February 2011, and arrested for fraud in September 2011.

Rod Hunt, defending, said that Costner was not a typical confidence trickster from outside the area who targeted vulnerable people.

Mr Hunt said the offences happened in a drunken, chaotic manner after the breakdown of his relationship.

But Recorder Cox told Costner: "You were threatening and offensive, and it is clear from the evidence that the complainants were intimidated by you and you must have been aware of that. These were elderly, vulnerable victims."

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