THE case about the 80-year-old man whose bank account was almost cleaned out by rogue builder James Gray is sickening and frightening.

Thanks to the justice system, Gray is where he belongs – behind bars. Whether the four and a half years imposed on him is enough is, as so often is the case in stories like this, open to debate, but the mean and despicable crook was caught and he got his comeuppance.

Sady his victim, David Margerum, did not live long enough to see justice done, or to receive any compensaiton – he died in the Prospect Hospice before the case came to court, with just £325 in a bank account that contained £18,000 savings before Gray tricked and bullied Mr Margerum into handing over over a period of time for shoddy and unnecessary work.

There are lessons to be learned here. Mr Margerum was clearly a vulnerable gentleman, easy prey to a con-artist like Gray.

Thankfully, his neighbour Wayne Hayward was caring and observant. He became concerned for the pensioner and called the police when he showed him bank statements.

We all have a duty to act like Mr Hayward did – we should be vigilant on behalf of people like Mr Margerum, and make sure the authorities are aware when greedy, dishonest criminals like James Gray are at large.

And once they are apprehended, the courts need to do all they can to make them aware of the cruelty of their deeds, and make sure they have plenty of time in prison to reflect on them.