A DECORATOR who tried to con a 78-year-old man out of £2,500 has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Dean Welch tried to charge the disabled pensioner for work at his Ambleside Drive home in June 2012.

The victim had been approached by another man who said he could paint the outside of his Headington home for £5,000 before cutting the fee to £2,500.

Welch, of Redbridge Hollow, Oxford, worked on decorating the house but later took over the job and supplied an invoice to the victim.

But Oxfordshire County Council trading standards said a surveyor had found paint had been splashed and spilled and it was already peeling off the elderly man’s walls.

Welch, 41, admitted two counts of engaging in a commercial practice which was misleading, and one count of knowingly or recklessly engaging in commercial practice which contravenes professional diligence, at Oxford Magistrates’ Court in November.

At Oxford Crown Court yesterday Judge Tom Corrie gave him a seven-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He was also handed a 12-month supervision order.

Richard Webb, head of trading standards, said: “This case is an example of a trader preying on a vulnerable person, who then became intimidated with the tactics that were used. This should serve as a warning to anyone engaged in this kind of activity.

“People should never hand over money before a job is completed to the standard that they expect.”