Bassingbourn gardener jailed for defrauding elderly Meldreth victim out of almost £40,000

The gardener defrauded the vulnerable woman out of almost £40,000

The gardener defrauded the vulnerable woman out of almost £40,000 - Credit: Archant

A Bassingbourn gardener who defrauded an elderly woman out of almost £40,000 has been jailed for 16 months.

Frank Martin, of Chestnut Lane in Bassingbourn, was employed to carry out gardening maintenance at a property in Meldreth on an adhoc basis in 2014.

When the victim – a 66-year-old widow – decided her small garden was no longer manageable, Martin quoted around £5,000 to clear it and replace it with gravel, potted shrubs and picket fencing.

As work got underway, the 38-year-old claimed he needed additional funds to cover ongoing costs and, between March and July last year, the victim wrote him numerous cheques totalling £45,500.

An investigation was launched after the victim’s bank raised the alarm about the payments, and Trading Standards valued the true cost of the work as £6,000.

Martin pleaded guilty to fraud and was yesterday sentenced to 16 months in prison at Cambridge Crown Court.

Det Con Clare Daniel said: “Martin defrauded an elderly, vulnerable adult when he was employed by her to carry out some gardening work.

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“The victim put her trust in Martin. She didn’t keep track of how much money she was paying him and had no cause to believe that he would take more money than agreed.

“We were able to freeze Martin’s bank account and have returned almost £15,000 to the victim.”