A FRAUDSTER running a construction firm in Grays has been given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £47,500 in compensation and costs.

Kevin McCarthy, of Great Notley, Braintree, admitted 12 charges under the Fraud Act at Basildon Crown Court on Friday, November 12.

McCarthy, who runs Pasture Construction, in Lodge Lane, Grays, operated across Essex, Kent, Hertfordshire and London.

Between 2007 and 2009 he contacted people who had applied for planning permission and said he would act as their project manager, taking a 13 per cent deposit after completing a quote for the build and drawing up a programme of works.

However, the court heard that, in the majority of cases, McCarthy was never seen again after taking the deposit, where the client had problems with the building work.

On his letterhead McCarthy claimed he operated from five different area offices, but in fact only had one in Grays, an accommodation address, some agreements with the other offices lapsed in 2006.

The court also heard that McCarthy gave the impression Pasture Construction Co – Extension Specialists was bigger and better than it was, when it is a one man operation, merely an introductory agent for clients who want building work done.

McCarthy was busted by Thurrock Council’s Trading Services, working with Scambusters – a regional organisation which supports councils taking action against traders operating across borders.

McCarthy was given a 10 month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and 150 hours of community service.