A COWBOY builder falsely claimed that his son was seriously ill in order to con his victims out of thousands of pounds.

David Johnson, from Bewsey, also made up lies about bank accounts being hacked and HMRC investigations during the callous fraud.

Warrington Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday, August 14, that the 39-year-old fraudulently made more than £5,000 between October 2018 and May 2018.

He told one victim – who had paid him £1,722.63 for new wardrobes, skirting board, shelving, bi-fold doors and accessories – that he would not be able to supply her with products as his son had scarlet fever, meningitis and septicaemia and was undergoing an operation at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Another customer was told that his bank account had been hacked and that he was being investigated by HMRC.

Johnson, of Albury Close, later said he would refund the man £2,400 via monthly instalments of £200, but these payments stopped after £600 had been paid back.

A third victim paid £1,218.92 for plastering, bricklaying, new windows and lighting.

The conman also lied about his qualifications on an online profile.

Johnson admitted three counts of fraud and seven breaches of trading standards regulations.

He was told to pay compensation totalling £1,700, court costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £85.

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Magistrates also ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and to complete a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement.