A BUILDER who was paid in advance to put up a conservatory didn't even start the job, a court heard.

Blackburn magistrates heard Garry Sommerville made numerous excuses, including that his dog had been ill, for not starting the job before admitting he had spent the down payment he had been given to buy materials.

Sommerville, 37, of Whitecroft View, Baxenden, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.

He was ordered to do 40 hours unpaid work and pay £1,500 compensation.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said Naomi Daly bought a new house and decided she wanted a conservatory. She found the defendant on Facebook and he came to look at the job and then e-mailed her a quote.

"She gave him £1,500 for materials which was transferred into his account," said Miss Allan. "Initially he said he couldn't start because of the bad weather and said he would start in the new year.

"More excuses followed, including that he had been ill, his children had gone back to school and his dog had been ill. The work was never done and he eventually admitted he had spent the money."

Because he had no previous convictions he was offered a caution on condition he repaid the money in instalments but no payments were made.

Richard Prew, defending, said the background to the case was slightly more complicated.

He said Sommerville had been hired to do work on the house and a price was agreed.

"As he was doing that work they asked him to do extras over and above the contract that had been agreed and that had financial implications," said Mr Prew. "There were then disputes about money and the extra work he was doing. This wasn't a fraud from the outset. He accepts he had the money and it wasn't used for the purpose it was given to him for."