A PENSIONER fleeced out of his life savings by cowboy builders said today he hoped their jail sentences would be a stern warning to others.

The builders were jailed for five years between them for the "extortionate" way they embezzled the Acomb pensioner of all of his money.

Thomas Medd, 76, had to apply for a bank overdraft to meet the repeated cash demands of experienced conman Anthony Robert Turner and his accomplice Downes Alexander Aislabie, a jury at York Crown Court heard.

The Hartlepool pair demanded more than £20,000 for repaving his driveway and produced work so shoddy that a building expert said later it needed to be completely redone.

Today, Mr Medd said: "I'm glad they got something, put it that way.

"I didn't want to be vindictive, but I think this gives the proper message to people. They were offering to do work, but they took advantage of me.

"I know that sometimes people don't get a stiff enough sentence for some of the things they do, but I'm pleased. It shows that people should be careful."

The jury were unaware that during his trial, Turner was serving three years and three months for similar offences against pensioners in Newcastle and Teesside.

"There is no mitigation for what you did," Judge Jim Spencer QC told him. "It was mean in the extreme for you to embezzle money from that man. You and your friend set out to bleed him dry.

"That is precisely what you did. He ended up having to go and borrow money to meet your extortionate demands."

He jailed Turner, of Carrick Street, Hartlepool for three years.

The jury convicted him of four charges of deception and one of attempted deception, all of which he had denied.

Aislabie, of West View Road, Central Estate, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to the same charges.

Judge Spencer jailed him for two years. "I am quite satisfied you were an enthusiastic participant with your co-accused. You blamed him for being the prime mover, he blamed you. You are both as bad."

He reduced the sentence because Aislabie had pleaded guilty and had no previous convictions for conning pensioners.

For Aislabie, Paul Cleasby said his last dishonesty conviction was 13 years old.

Updated: 12:10 Saturday, June 14, 2003