A ROGUE builder who targeted elderly victims in Bracknell Forest has been sentenced to 54 months in prison.

Billy Cole, of Hawthorne Crescent, Camberley, admitted to fraudulent trading and six offences of money laundering at Reading Crown Court.

An investigation by the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) uncovered the 35-year-old's dodgy dealings, which included forming a company for the purpose of committing fraud.

The fees he demanded represented the life savings of all three individuals and the Court was told there had been a real impact on one victims’ health following the crimes.

Councillor Iain McCracken, chairman of the public protection committee, said: “This is an extremely serious case as has been reflected in the lengthy immediate custodial sentence.

"There was a loss of a large amount of money and there was a high impact on the lives of the victims.

"Tackling doorstep crime remains one the Partnership’s highest priorities.

"An investigation will now take place to identify if any assets can be recovered.”

Cole, who traded under the name of City Guttering and Roofing, cold-called three of his victim's homes and carried out work.

Independent experts deemed the work to be sub-standard, unnecessary and often grossly overcharged.

In one case the victim was charged £200,000, but the work was later valued by a surveyor instructed by Trading Standards at just £26,000.

The only paperwork the victim received was a business card. In total Mr Cole charged a total of £375,000 for the building works.

The work would often start as either being free or for as little as £100, but soon escalated over a few months when Cole fabricated claims to have found other problems with their homes.

Another victim who hesitated about continuing with the works was advised that if they did not continue it would not pass building regulations and that he would not receive a City Guttering Guarantee.

Cole incorporated City and Guttering Roofs Ltd in 2016 with him as the sole director as a vehicle through which to perpetrate the fraud.

He also consistently and deliberately failed to inform victims they had a legal right to cancel the suggested building works as required by law.