A QUANTITY Surveyor has been found guilty of fraud after he was prosecuted by a local authority.

Robin Howe of Worsall Road in Yarm, near Stockton, appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court for sentencing on Wednesday.

The 67-year-old, who had previously appeared Gateshead Magistrates' Court for a two-day trial into his actions, had been investigated for fraud by Darlington Borough Council Trading Standards Officers.

Howe had provided services as a quantity surveyor to Lissa and Nigel Scott of Heighington, near Darlington, who were undertaking work to extend their home.

The court heard how Howe had used his position to promote the services of a rogue builder, encouraging staged payments despite problems with the work.

Being found guilty, Howe was sentenced to a 12 months' Community Order and required to complete 300 hours of unpaid work, while he was ordered to pay £3,505 in prosecution costs and a £90 victim surcharge.

His victims were subsequently awarded compensation of £2,500 each after it was acknowledged the level of stress suffered.

Dawn Taylor of the council's Trading Standards, said: "The sentence handed down by the court reflects the serious nature of the offence and acknowledges levels of stress suffered by the victims.

"Mr and Mrs Scott showed tremendous courage in working with us to bring this case to court."