Rogue builders, 21 and 19, who conned brain-damaged homeowner out of £13,500 after giving him a £10 estimate for roofing work are jailed – after being caught with a ‘how-to’ guide on defrauding people

  • Jimmy Connors (191) and Francis Ward (199) posed for money as builders. 
  • Ward told homeowner he had loose brick on roof that could be repaired for £10
  • Rogue traders went on to tell man there was further damage on the property
  • Connors and Ward of Queensferry admitted to fraud and were sentenced
  • Are you being conned? Email

Two ‘callous’ conmen who swindled £13,500 from a homeowner with brain damage after giving him a £10 estimate for roofing work have been jailed for almost four years.

Jimmy Connors (21), and Francis Ward (19) posed for a photo as builders. After visiting the victim’s Warwick home last September, they took money.

The homeowner, aged in his 50s, was initially told by Ward he had a loose brick on his roof that could be repaired for £10.  

However the rogue trader then told him there was more damage and charged him £3,000 for the repair before returning with Connors a few days later and telling him the beam in the roof was also damaged.   

The pair were eventually caught after being found with a ‘how-to’ guide on their phones with steps on defrauding people.

After admitting to fraud at Warwick Crown Court, the Connors, Warwickshire and Ward of Queensferry in Deeside were sentenced.   

Francis Ward

Jimmy Connors

Francis Ward (left), 19,  and Jimmy Connors (right), 21, posed as builders to swindle money from a homeowner in Warwick

The court was told that Ward spent about half an hour pretending to be an inspector on the roof after initially agreeing to work. 

He then told the homeowner there was more damage than expected and the bricks around the chimney were collapsing, which would cost £3,000 to repair.

Ward and Connors returned a few days later with the victim who withdrew the cash and informed Ward of the damage to the roof’s main beam.     

A cheque for £7,200 was handed over but the rogue builders did not stop there and returned the following day to claim a second beam also needed repair work.

The victim said he could not afford the extra £4,000 now being quoted and Ward and Connors left agreeing to return a few days later to carry out the job.

The victim’s sister and her partner went on to inspect the house, finding that there were problems with the roof.

They became suspicious and requested that the cheque be stopped. The pair contacted the police, who then arrested them when they returned home to their house on October 5.

Officers searched Ward’s car and discovered a number of invoices for other work. This led to Ward being linked to another Coventry scam.

He had conned a woman out of £3,000 after he said her roof required work before going on to cause £8,500 worth of damage himself.

The WhatsApp conversation Ward had with his friends on Ward’s mobile phone was also discovered by detectives. They discussed how Ward could befriend or defraud others and what steps Ward should take in order to not get caught.

Connors of Southam, Warwickshire, was jailed for 20 months and Ward, of Queensferry, Deeside, was sentenced to 27 months at Warwick Crown Court (pictured)

 Connors of Southam, Warwickshire, was jailed for 20 months and Ward, of Queensferry, Deeside, was sentenced to 27 months at Warwick Crown Court (pictured)

A search on Connor’s mobile phone revealed that he had used the internet to find information regarding chimney repairs.

Connors from Southam, Warwickshire, as well Ward, Queensferry and Deeside admitted to fraud at Warwick Crown Court last Wednesday.

Ward was sent to 27-months in prison and Connors was placed into a 20 month jail sentence.  

Emma Pritchard of Warwickshire Police said that the victim had been vulnerable. Ward and Connors would not have known.

“This criminal couple preyed upon vulnerable persons and conned them of thousands of pounds.

“Their actions are appalling. They fully deserve a sentence in prison.