AN incompetent tradesman claimed to be capable of carrying out building work and bathroom fitting, misleading a string of customers and leaving several out of pocket.

Darren Patterson has admitted charges of fraud and conducting misleading business practices relating to five of his customers and will be sentenced next month.

In a prosecution brought by Durham County Council, after an inquiry by its trading standards department, he was facing five charges of fraud by false representation.

Appearing at a plea hearing at Durham Crown Court, the 48-year-old defendant, of Jack Lawson Terrace, Wheatley Hill, pleaded guilty to one of the counts of fraud and to a total of four charges of conducting misleading business practices, all said to have taken place on various dates between January 2014 and August 2018.

Each of the other fraud counts are not expected to be proceeded with at sentence.

The defendant was bailed to return to court for that hearing, on May 13.