A JUDGE has advised a fraudulent fencing contractor it is in his interest to attend court next week.

Nicholas Burdon is accused of failing to complete work to a satisfactory standard in 19 cases, involving customers across the North-East.

The 35-year-old tradesman, of Kings Road, Wingate, has admitted 12 counts of fraud, leaving seven in dispute.

But his latest hearing, at Durham Crown Court, was told Burdon has failed to engage with the solicitors’ firm representing him, in their attempts to contact him to reach a suitable resolution.

Adjourning to the original trial date, on Monday, Judge Adkin said: “The defendant must attend and we’ll see if we can finally resolve this slightly vexatious case.

“If he doesn’t turn up and doesn’t engage he will end up spending time in custody before his trial and that should be made abundantly clear to him. It’s greatly to his disadvantage to string it out any longer than it has been.”