TWO men have been found guilty of duping elderly residents into paying around £13,890 upfront for building and glazing work that was not completed.

In a case brought by Halton Borough Council involving 11 victims, including six from Eccleston, Parr, Dentons Green, Garswood, Haresfinch and Haydock, Keith Gilbert, 39 and Mark Miles, 48 appeared in Liverpool Crown Court.

The prosecution alleged the pair had been involved in Northwest UPVC which carried out roofing, glazing and general building works in the Merseyside and North Cheshire area.

The business used canvassers to cold-call to generate leads and then Mark Miles would visit, negotiate a price and take a cash deposit.

A number of often elderly customers were duped into believing that by paying upfront their building work would be carried out within days.

In reality once the money was paid they would never see it again.

Keith Gilbert, of Newmore Lane, Sandymoor, pleaded guilty to acquiring criminal property, an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and will be sentenced on Monday, July 10.

However, because of a brain injury Mark Miles sustained in January 2015, the judge's sentencing powers for him were limited, despite some offences committed after the brain injury took place.

Despite this on Thursday, June 8, the jury reached a unanimous verdict that Mark Miles, of Greenbridge Close, Castlefields, had done the acts alleged.

These were that he knowingly carried on a business for a fraudulent purpose and 11 counts of dishonestly making a false representation under the Fraud Act 2006.

Due to the sentencing restrictions, the judge could only choose one of three possibilities: a hospital order, a supervision order or an absolute discharge.

Mark Miles was sentenced to a two-year supervision order – the maximum possible in such circumstances.

Mr Owen Edwards, counsel for the prosecution, said: “This did not prevent him from continuing with his dishonest dealing but it has contributed to a situation in law in which he has been found to be unfit to plead.

“This isn’t a case of a builder taking on too much work and hoping that he can get around to completing a job, this was a specific pattern of ensuring that as much cash as possible would be paid

upfront for jobs that were never likely to be completed.

“In other words it was a scam."

Cllr Dave Cargill, Executive Board Member for Halton Trading Standards, said: “This was a detailed and complex investigation involving many consumer witnesses from Halton, St Helens, Warrington, Bootle and Liverpool.

"Many of those witnesses were elderly and had mobility problems.

“Despite this they attended court to give evidence and subject themselves to cross-examination – something that most of us will never be called on to do.

"The success of this case was down to the thorough investigation by Trading Standards and the determination of the witnesses to prevent other people being ripped off.”