Plumber charges a woman 10 times his original estimate

    A unscrupulous plumber with a gambling addiction charged a client 10 times his original estimate after she hired him to do up her bathroom. James MacMartin claimed the boiler at her Exeter home was leaking and replaced it twice and then invented other unnecessary work as a way of inflating the charges.

    A unscrupulous plumber with a gambling addiction charged a client 10 times his original estimate after she hired him to do up her bathroom.

    James MacMartin claimed the boiler at her Exeter home was leaking and replaced it twice and then invented other unnecessary work as a way of inflating the charges.

    He did not give her any proper receipts and conned her into paying more and more money by claiming she would get it back in council grants.

    Mr MacMartin was in the grip of a gambling addiction but was spared an immediate jail sentence after overcoming it and promising to repay the money.

    The victim lost most of her life savings and has had to delay her retirement because she can no longer afford to give up work.

    She was a distant cousin who trusted him as a member of her family and even shared cuddles with him after she returned home upset from a funeral.

    Mr MacMartin,of Woodbury View, Alphington, admitted fraud and was jailed for 20 months, suspended for two years by Recorder Miss Kate Brunner, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.

    He was ordered to pay £20,000 compensation, and complete 100 hours unpaid community work and 20 days of rehabilitation and curfewed for three months.

    The Recorder told him:” This was a persistent and creative deception which had a profound effect on the victim, who trusted you because you were related to her.”

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