A Durham trader from Dodgy County has cheated a terminally ill cancer patient and her wife out of over £10,000

A heartless trader scammed a terminally ill cancer patient and his wife out of over £10,000 for work that was never completed.

Andrew Iveson was hired by the couple in September 2020 to carry out renovations in the garden of their Spennymoor home. But although the 33-year-old took thousands of materials from the couple, he only showed up a few times to carry out the work and ultimately make their garden look like a “construction yard”.

Even after discovering that one of his victims had terminal brain cancer, Iveson still didn’t show up, prompting the couple to contact police after paying him a total of £10,250.

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On Wednesday, Iveson, from Elderberry Close, Newton Aycliffe, appeared at Durham Crown Court to be convicted on two counts of fraud and one count of money laundering. He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and was put behind bars.

Anthony Pettingell, who is prosecuting on behalf of Durham County Council, said the couple hired Iveson, which did business as AWP Home Improvements, in 2020 so renovations could be carried out on their patio and garden. Mr Pettingell said the husband – a former firefighter – was suffering from terminal brain cancer at the time and sadly died during the subsequent examination.

Mr Pettingell said the man’s wife had contacted Iveson, who later visited their home in September 2020 and quoted £7,650 to carry out work in the garden and patio. He said: “The defendant contacted them via text message and he asked for a deposit. She told him they were nervous since he didn’t have any online reviews. He said it was because he had just started his business.”

Despite the couple feeling “uncomfortable”, the couple transferred £3,000 for materials and Lee showed up a number of times before starting to offer excuses as to why he couldn’t attend. He later suggested doing more expensive work at their home, urging them to do it all at once. The couple agreed and sent more money, but Iveson still didn’t show up regularly, leaving a huge mound of dirt in her garden instead.

The wife soon became frustrated with Iveson’s non-appearance and she told him that her husband had terminal cancer and that they wanted the garden to be completed so he could enjoy it before he got too ill. Although he promised to finish the job, he never showed up and stopped responding to text messages and calls. Eventually, the woman asked Iveson to finish the garden, but she received “no response.”

Mr Pettingell said the garden was left “completely unfinished”, prompting the couple to rely on volunteers and friends to help clean up. A surveyor looked at the work and estimated that around £7,000 of work had actually been done, but pointed out “poor work” and left the couple £3,180 out of pocket. He added: “The work is said to have been essentially incomplete and £10,250 was paid to the defendant out of the total price declared.”

In a victim statement, the woman, who has two young children, said Iveson’s actions had a “significant impact” on her and that not a day goes by that she doesn’t think about what Iveson was doing at the time her late husband was fighting the cancer. She said she could “never forgive him.”

Robin Turton, who is defending himself, asked for full credit for his guilty pleas and said Iveson had shown “real remorse”. He said: “He is wracked with guilt and shame. There isn’t a day that he hasn’t thought about what he’s done. He lived in Scotland and moved back to the North East for the birth of his first child.”

Mr Turton said Iveson was newly self-employed at the time and had “overcommitted” himself, leading to him being undervalued when it came to job offers and eventually running out of money. He said things then “got out of hand” and he tried to sell his work car. He added: “He stuck his head in the sand and didn’t know how to deal with it.

Judge James Adkin, Durham’s clerk, convicted Iveson, saying he left the couple’s garden “which looked like a construction yard,” calling it a “particularly cruel insult” and “callous.” He added, “This was a man at the end of his life and his wife was doing her best to make life easier for him.” Iveson was jailed for 12 months.

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