A MARRIED couple who conned customers out of more than £30,000 with a kitchen-fitting scam have had their assets seized.

But police discovered that Kevin and Gillian Cairns, 45 and 46, only had a combined total of £480 worth of goods that could be claimed under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

These were computers, phones and other items that will be auctioned as part of the POCA procedure, which allows the state to reclaim the fruits of a criminal lifestyle.

This can often include the likes of cars, jewellery and household items.

Chester Crown Court heard on Friday (June 7) that Kevin Cairns had £360 of assets seized while his wife had £120 that could be sold on.

Michael Whitty, prosecuting, said the combined value of the husband’s frauds was £23,327 while the wife’s was £9,952.

Kevin Cairns was

jailed for three years and four months at the same court in March this year

while Gillian Cairns was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years.

At the time, Kevin Cairns was branded “despicable” by Judge Stephen Everett after it emerged he had befriended a Chester football coach battling a brain tumour to con him into buying a new £12,500 kitchen in 2014.

Kevin Cairns even took Daniel Jones to chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments in hospital after hearing he had received a substantial critical illness insurance payment.

Mr Jones sadly died in March 2015.

In a victim impact statement read out by Mr Whitty, Tara Jones said the family had been left feeling “utterly betrayed”.

Chester and District Standard:

Kevin Cairns is behind bars.

The court heard that the couple, who have been married for 18 years and have two teenage daughters, had then gone on to con three more people together in 2016 and 2017 receiving around £20,000 for furniture or kitchen refits that they never provided.

Gillian Cairns, who was not charged in relation to the scam on the Jones family, was said to have a lesser, more administrative role.

Both were banned from becoming the director of a company – Kevin Cairns for 10 years and Gillian Cairns for four.

They had used different company names, including Handcrafted in England and Bartou & Mason, to offer bespoke furniture and kitchens.

While Gillian Cairns had no other prior offences to her name, her husband has 14 convictions for 26 offences including violence and possession of cocaine.

At the March hearing, Judge Everett described a victim impact statement read to the court by Daniel Jones’ mother as “heart-rending”.

In it she said: “We would like Mr and Mrs Cairns to consider how they would feel if their son was to suffer the indignity of dying from a brain tumour and leaving his wife, two small children and family behind while having £12,000-plus stolen from him.

“I’m now left feeling distressed every time I think about the impact this had on Dan and Tara at such a difficult time in our lives.”

Chester and District Standard:

Gillian Cairns leaving Chester Crown Court in March.

Passing sentence, the judge told Kevin Cairns: “You befriended a terminally ill man. He had received a payment through his illness, and you wanted that money off him.

“I don’t know what on earth was going through your mind when you were taking him to hospital for treatment and pretending to be his friend. It was so callous. You strung him and his wife along.

“You have no remorse. I can see it now; you just don’t care. What a terrible individual you are.”

Addressing both defendants, he added: “Two con artists is what you are, nothing more and nothing less.”

As part of her suspended sentence, Gillian Cairns – who gave an address of Lesbury Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity.