A ROGUE electrician duped customers and carried out substandard work as his life was “falling apart”, a court heard.

Stephen Clark, 51, was handed a 12 month community order with unpaid work at Bournemouth Magistrates Court yesterday after admitting three counts of fraud by false representation and two of engaging in a misleading commercial practice.

The offences related to work he carried out at three homes – two in Poole and one in Lytchett Matravers – between April 2011 and March 2013.

In each case Clark falsely claimed that he was an approved electrician in order to meet building control regulations, the court heard, meaning his customers had to get further repairs carried out by approved tradesmen able to certify their work.

On two occasions he failed to provide his customers with the proper paperwork, including a right to cancel.

Andrew Scott, prosecuting for Borough of Poole Trading Standards, said: “These are a serious set of charges. We are talking about an industry which requires safety to be the uppermost consideration. That was lacking in this case.”

The court heard Clark, of Nelson Road, Branksome, was remorseful and embarrassed about “serious errors of his judgement as a tradesperson”.

Speaking in mitigation, Terrence Scanlan said: “It is very much out of character for him. He is a fully qualified electrician with 30 years of experience in the building trade.”

He said Clark carried out the offences during a period when he was enduring “the most awful experiences with his personal life” after he was declared bankrupt in 2010.

After his business fell apart, Clark and his family were forcibly evicted from their home in 2012, and shortly afterwards his marriage broke down.

“This offending took occurred while his life was essentially falling apart,” said Mr Scanlan, adding that the defendant intended to leave the county and change career.

The magistrates ordered Clark to pay costs of £2,500 but said any claim for compensation – with a sum of more than £5,000 mooted by the prosecution – would have to be pursued through the civil courts.