A rogue builder who tricked homeowners out of hundreds of thousands of pounds has today (20th July) been jailed for fraud.
Dennis Pickerden, 46, ran a number of building companies in north-east Lincolnshire. He developed a sophisticated scam to convince his victims to part with over a quarter of a million pounds in total.
Pickerden approached potential customers by cold-calling or visiting their homes. Homeowners were provided with references, portfolios of work and even DVDs to convince them he was reliable and trustworthy. Then extremely low quotes were given so they entered into a contract.
Pickerden undertook a variety of projects including extensions, loft conversions and paving driveways. Work would get underway, but before long problems would arise, progress would slow, and clients would be asked to make further payments. Eventually he would ensure that there was a major disagreement and walk off the job leaving work unfinished and often in a dangerous state.
Many victims lost their life savings and their homes. Several were so distressed by their experiences they have been left with long-term health issues including depression and stress.
Pickerden pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading at an earlier hearing, and was today sentenced to six years and nine months in prison at Sheffield Crown Court.
Arslan Khan of the CPS said:
“Dennis Pickerden started building projects with no intention of ever finishing them. The work his companies undertook was shoddy and often dangerous. He repeated the same fraud over and over again, deliberately abusing homeowners’ trust.
“His victims were left out of pocket. Some have lost their homes and others have serious health conditions that will need long-term treatment.
“Pickerden’s offending was carefully planned and so extensive that prosecutors were able to show that it amounted to serious fraud. I hope today’s sentence will provide some sense of justice to those whose lives he affected.”
Notes to editors
- Arslan Khan is a Specialist Prosecutor in the CPS Specialist Fraud Division
- Denis Pickerden pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulent trading and was sentenced to six years and nine months at Sheffield Crown Court. He has been banned from being a company director for nine years and a proceeds of crime order was lodged.