A rogue gardener who conned people out of thousands of pounds to feed his gambling addiction has escaped a jail term.
Twenty-five-year-old Samuel Jackson, of Kenny Hill and formerly of Soham, pleaded guilty to six charges of fraud at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court.
The hearing heard he had taken deposits for landscaping work he either never started or did not complete. He had used the money to bankroll an out-of-control gambling addiction.
Charles Snelling prosecuting told the court the alarm was first raised with trading standards officers in 2014 when Jackson took a deposit after agreeing to remove a fence, but walked away from the work.
Officers began an investigation tracing further victims with six people being affected in total all losing large sums.
Jackson was operating under two company names – Outdoors Restore and S & J Landscaping and Groundworks.
He was sentenced to 20 weeks’ imprisonment for each offence to run concurrently suspended for a year. He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, carry out a rehabilitation activity order working with the probation service and pay compensation to his victims of £8,842.
After the hearing Adrian Love, trading standards officer at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We received a number of complaints from local people, which we investigated. It was clear early on that Mr Jackson was promising services, mainly landscaping, he either never intended to start or complete.”