A FRAUDSTER who offered to clean carpets for rock-bottom prices before hiking his charges by up to 5,400 per cent has been jailed for driving offences.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Mark Dudley was spared a prison sentence in November 2015 for fraud.

A court heard the defendant, now 43 and of no fixed abode, travelled the country offering to clean carpets for as little as £20.

However, his victims – including a vulnerable dementia sufferer – were often charged a different, vastly higher price in a practice known as 'bait and switch'.

Dudley variously traded as MD Cleaning Services Limited, Compact Cleaning Services and Dudley Cleaning Services from addresses in Dorset in 2014.

The court heard that he travelled around counties including Devon, Somerset, Cornwall and Gloucester operating a carpet cleaning business.

Customers were cold-called with offers. However, when Dudley arrived to carry out the work, the offered price was not available. In some cases, the defendant charged up to £1,100.

One elderly woman with dementia was charged £400, although her carpets had been cleaned the previous day by another trader.

Last Thursday, Dudley, who is now of no fixed abode, was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison for a series of new offences after being convicted in his absence.

The defendant was found guilty of failing to provide a specimen of breath for analysis in the course of an investigation into whether he had committed an offence in Wimborne Road, Bournemouth on October 21 2017. He was also convicted of assaulting a PC in the execution of her duty on the same date.

In addition, the defendant admitted commission of a further offence during the operational period of a suspended sentence order for the carpet cleaning frauds, as well as commission of a further offence during the operational period of a suspended sentence order for a section four public order offence.

Magistrates at Poole sentenced him to a total of 10 weeks in prison because of the breaches of the two suspended sentence orders. He has also "avoided court for six months", it was heard.

Dudley was ordered to pay £100 compensation to the PC, as well as a £115 surcharge and £145 costs. He was banned from driving for 24 months.