A Cheshire plumber who conned a blind disabled Prestatyn pensioner out of £5,450 today escaped imprisonment after it was confirmed he had paid all the money back.

In August Andrew Young, 37 from Nantwich, received a deferred sentence so he could pay compensation to the pensioner.

Mold Crown Court heard today the money had been repaid in full and Young, who represented himself, received a suspended eight month prison sentence.

Judge Niclas Parry told him: “It was a despicable act on your behalf.”

He said the defendant knew his elderly customer was registered blind and disabled living alone.

“You took your chance,” the judge said.

He warned Young that he could have faced a prison sentence of up to three years.

But he had pleaded guilty and in the summer he had been given a chance - and he had done what was important and repaid the money.

“What the elderly man would have wanted above all was the money back and he has had it.

“As I promised you, the inevitable prison sentence will be suspended.”

The judge said he would not place him on rehabilitation. “I don’t think you need it. You are a switched-on working man.” Young was ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work and pay £6,000 prosecution costs.

The 37-year-old defendant told the judge he had been out of work because of publicity surrounding his case but he now had a job with his brother.

The judge agreed that he could pay the costs at £500 a month.

Prosecuting barrister Phillip Clemo confirmed that the compensation had been paid in full.

In August the court was told the defendant was selling his house and he was given time in order to use cash from the sale to repay victim Kenneth Hawley, 69, a wheelchair user, who had just moved into a house in Warren Road, Prestatyn in August 2016, and hired Young to refit his bathroom. so he could wash properly.

But Young never carried out the work and Mr Hawley took out a loan to employ another firm to do the job.

Mr Clemo said Young used the 69-year-old “as a piggy bank he could raid”.

He had denied a charge of fraud between September 1 and October 4, 2016, but changed his plea to guilty after his trial started.

Young, who ran Andy Plumb and Heat, apologised for his actions before the court.

He said: “I am sorry. I have never done anything like this before in my life and it was a one-off. I have traded for 17 years.

“I didn’t want to take his money. I just wanted to finish off the job.”

Judge Parry told him: “Any right-minded person would be shocked by what you did. You took advantage of a blind disabled person.

“He just wanted to afford himself the dignity of washing himself properly.

“My main aim is to recover the costs for Mr Hawley and the costs for the public, particularly the residents of Denbighshire County Council.

“I am making compensation my priority.”

The court heard how the victim had been given a leaflet on the firm’s philosophy which claimed they did the “right job, at the right price, at the right time”.

But the prosecutor said that what was to follow, showed that in fact he had no regard for any of those three supposedly guiding principles.

He said he would need £2,200 cash up front and asked in a message if he could have cash the following day.

When there was no reply for about a quarter of an hour, the defendant was clearly concerned that he had priced himself out of the deal and so he messaged saying that he needed an answer as he only had that one week free and then was booked up for 12 months.

Four minutes after that he messaged again saying that he could knock £150 off that price as he had just checked with his supplier.

“This was despite it being 9pm on a Wednesday. The Crown say that that was nonsense and this was an attempt to pressurise a man whose vulnerability he was clearly aware of, into committing to giving him cash within the following 24 hours,” said Mr Clemo.

The ploy worked and the defendant was told the victim would give him the money the following day with the work to start shortly.

The price changed an n number of times, and in total he was paid £5,500.

When the job was due to start he said that he was on his honeymoon and had broken his arm so the job might need to be delayed by a week or two.

He was told if he could not do the job he should just refund him the money but he said it would be done but when the new date arrived he said that his mother was ill in hospital and he would call later - and asked for more money.

The victim said he had already paid way over budget and had since received a quote for £2,000 less than he had already paid.

Another start date passed when the defendant said his mum was on her last legs and he would let him know as soon as possible.

The victim was not inclined to accept further excuses and asked for the money back so that he could instruct another firm to do the works.

Young said that he could not as the materials had already been bought.

Denbighshire County Council Trading Standards investigated but the defendant did not answer emails or letters and made excuses when asked to attend for interview.