A BUILDING contractor has changed pleas and admitted defrauding customers out of more than £110,000.

Stephen Loughlen appeared at Durham Crown Court as sole director of Newcastle Facilities and Management, in January.

Both Loughlen, now 55, of Sunset View, Flint Hill, near Stanley, and the company, based on Hobson Industrial Estate, Burnopfield, denied three counts each of fraud.

They relate to customers who paid for building work to be carried out at properties in Consett, County Durham, in Cullercoats, North Tyneside, and at Hartburn, near Morpeth, Northumberland, in 2018 and 2019.

But, at the scheduled trial this week, Loughlen and the company changed pleas and admitted all six charges.

Matthew Hopkins, for Loughlen, asked for sentence to be deferred to enable him to try to raise as much as possible to pay back the victims.

Judge Ray Singh agreed to adjourn for four months , but said a prison sentence remains,”uppermost” in his mind.

He bailed Loughlen to return to court to learn his fate on Monday March 21.

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