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Builder who fleeced family out of £7,000 for materials jailed

A crooked builder who fleeced a family out of thousands of pounds has been jailed.

Brian Barton, aged 53, agreed to complete a sensory room for a child with significant learning difficulties in Retford.

After accepting a deposit of £7,000 for materials in July 2021, Barton then spent the following three months coming up with excuse after excuse as to why the work hadn’t started yet.

After initially blaming a post-COVID delay in getting hold of building materials, he eventually claimed he would cancel the order and refund the money.

No money was ever sent, however, and Barton was reported to Nottinghamshire Police in October of the same year.

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After initially denying any wrongdoing, he eventually pleaded guilty to one count of theft.

Appearing at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday, Barton, of Laurel Fields, Potters Bar, was jailed for 13 months.

Detective Constable Sean Osborn, who led the investigation, said:

“Barton never had any intention of starting this work and caused significant upset and anxiety to an everyday customer who had placed their faith in him.

“Barton was supposed to be constructing a sensory room for a young boy who has significant learning difficulties. He instead took this money for his personal gain. It’s a testament to the perseverance of the family and tradespeople from the local community, who stepped in to complete building work often at their own expense, that the child now has a fully functional sensory room fit for his needs.

“This kind of behaviour will always be treated extremely seriously and we will do all we can do support victims. Having persevered, the victim was refunded by the bank for the majority of the money paid to Barton.

“Unfortunately, the actions of people like him serve to undermine faith in the building profession as a whole so I am pleased he was now been held to account.”

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