A con man from Hayle who defrauded pensioners out of thousands of pounds has been jailed for 38 weeks with a threat of more time if he doesn't repay the cash.
Following a lengthy investigation by Cornwall Council Trading Standards, Liam Hawkins, 26, of Trelissick Road, was sent to prison by magistrates in Truro on Tuesday.
Hawkins used a window repair business to defraud elderly and vulnerable consumers out of thousands of pounds, and although at an earlier hearing he had admitted one charge of obtaining money by deception but denied eight other charges, he decided on Tuesday to admit further charges. He pleaded guilty to taking money from elderly customers with no intention of undertaking the repair works or providing a refund.
The court was told that Hawkins had two previous convictions relating to twelve almost identical offences and that one of the latest offences was committed just seven weeks after he received a suspended prison sentence in July 2015. He has also failed to make any refunds or compensation payments as ordered by the court at the 2015 hearing.
The court also heard that Hawkins had admitted cold-calling his victims and lying about working in the area and that he had never ordered the promised replacement windows from the suppliers. Instead he deliberately took the cash deposits.
Magistrates sentenced Hawkins to a total of 38 weeks imprisonment with a warning that he would serve longer if he failed to make satisfactory arrangements to repay his victims their money. He was taken from the court to immediately begin his prison sentence.
Nigel Strick, Cornwall Council’s fair trading team manager, said: "This is the third time that Mr Hawkins has appeared before Truro magistrates in three years and the third time he has been convicted of offences involving fraud. These latest offences are almost identical to those for which he received a suspended prison sentence in July 2015. Yet despite his previous convictions Mr Hawkins has taken no heed of the warnings issued by the previous courts and has continued to offend.
"Trading Standards investigators were particularly concerned that once again his latest offences were specifically targeted at elderly and vulnerable consumers and the impact of Mr Hawkins’ behaviour on his victims in terms of increasing their fear of crime, of losing trust in other people and of causing anxiety and upset has been graphically seen during the investigation.
"Once again this case reinforces the message that you should never deal with anyone who turns up at your door unannounced, no matter how convincing they may seem and no matter how tempting their special offers may sound."