A FRAUDSTER conned elderly victims out of at least £300,000 by pretending to fix their driveways while covering them in loose stone chippings.

Allan Coutts, 60, was jailed for five-and-a-half years after a jury found him guilty at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court last week.

Coutts, of Sandhurst, Berkshire, ran a dodgy tarmac repair business between February 2015 and August 2016 to dupe his victims out of hundreds of thousands of pounds in driveway repairs.

He used a lorry that looked like vehicles used by the Highways Agency to look official.

Coutts then cold called customers in remote areas of England and Wales, convincing elderly and retired people that their driveways could be repaired cheaply as he had excess materials he could use.

He would target secluded properties with longer driveways for bigger profits and minimise his chances of being caught.

The work would often only take hours to complete and would consist of putting loose stone chippings on top of the existing driveways with no solution to hold it in place.

He would also offer a 'five year guarantee' which customers later discovered was worthless.

Coutts would ask for a cash payment, and would even accompany his victims to the local bank to collect his fee.

The case was brought to court after a investigation by the Powys County Council Trading Standards in partnership with the National Trading Standards Investigation Team Wales.

Coutts traded under several different names to avoid detection - such as Roadmac Construction Limited, A. Coutts Tarmac Division and Roads and Drives & Asphalting.

Lord Toby Harris, chair of National Trading Standards, said: "Mr Coutts deliberately targeted elderly and vulnerable consumers with the intention of carrying out worthless repair work for large profits.

"He lured in customers with the false impression of a legitimate business only to leave behind poor quality and unfinished work.

County councillor James Evans said: "Our team has worked effectively in partnership with National Trading Standards to bring a rogue trader down, with a view of to preventing him trading again and ripping off other vulnerable people, and also to compensate the victims who have already been caught.

"I commend all involved in this action to protect our streets from rogue traders and to further support our legitimate traders."

Clive Jones, from the Trading Standards Community Safety and emergency planning said: "Coutts targeted Powys first and after ripping off our communities expanded his appalling trading methods to other parts of the UK.

"What he did not predict was the tenacity of our investigators and that of our colleagues regionally as we will not tolerate our residents being subject to criminal practice."

Coutts was found guilty of money laundering and fraud and was jailed for five and a half years.