PROCEEDS of crime proceedings will not be pursued against an unqualified builder, jailed for defrauding customers out of thousands of pounds.

Anthony James Gray, 57, was jailed for 27 months, at Durham Crown Court, last month, after the ex-serviceman, of Topaz Close, Hartlepool, admitted five counts of fraud and fraudulent trading.

He was said to have left clients with half-finished, poorly-built extensions and loft conversions, having to pay reputable builders to complete jobs.

The court heard he set up Cathedral Home Improvements with honourable intentions, but did not have the skills or experience to take on the work and had to, “rob Peter to pay Paul”, trying to keep on top of the unfinished jobs.

The victims were left £39,600 out of pocket, with some paying further sums to rectify his deficiencies.

Weeks after he was jailed with a view to a subsequent crime proceeds hearing, the case came back to court.

Prosecutor Jonathan Walker told the hearing: “The matter is listed today simply for the Crown to indicate Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings will not be pursued.”

Judge James Adkin told Gray, appearing via video link from Holme House Prison, Stockton, he could return to his cell as, “the prosecution will not be pursuing investigations into your assets.”