A cowboy builder who swindled a client out of £3000 by pretending to repair a roof has been jailed for 15 months.
Graham Seymour, 42, told Truce Jenner, 49, a former model from St John's Wood, north London, that he would fix the leaks in her roof, and even supplied a workman, who drank mugs of tea while making convincing banging noises. But the work on the roof was never carried out. Seymour then vanished after collecting his fee, Middlesex Crown Court heard.

Police took a year to track him down, finally succeeding after he passed his mobile telephone on to his wife.

Jenner told the court how she saw Seymour and and a colleague outside the house with a ladder. "I assumed they were both up on the roof," she said. "During the day I would make them a cup of tea and shout up. I then went out to play tennis.

"I'd come back from tennis and they'd still be there. One day they said they were leaving."

Three days after the alleged repairs were carried out Jenner was shocked to find rainwater cascading from the ceiling of her rear upstairs bedroom at Grove End Road.

She telephoned Seymour's firm, the London Roofing Company, but there was no reply. She later discovered that its West End address was in fact a PO box registered to a block of flats with a shop underneath.

Mrs Jenner was later forced to hire a reputable firm to repair the leading on her roof at a

cost of £1200. When police caught up with Seymour he immediately offered to repay Mrs Jenner £3000. He also maintained that he had nothing to do with the London Roofing Company. He later said he had arranged the repairs but was attending a sales course while they were carried out.

Seymour, of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, was convicted of fraud on 5 August, 1999.

The judge told him: "I have to sentence you for barefaced fraud. You arranged for a workman to work for you. You produced a computer generated invoice and took the money."