Rogue traders jailed

Two men who conned elderly vulnerable people over building work on their homes have been jailed.

Dean Evans , aged 30, of Manor House Lane, Higher Heath, Whitchurch, Shropshire and Lee Hargreaves , aged 23, previously of Mather Avenue, St Helens,were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing at the city’s  magistrates court to offences under the Fraud Act  and Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations (CPR)

Evans pleaded guilty to nine offences under the CPR and one fraud offence, and Hargreaves pleaded guilty to three CPR offences and two fraud offences.

Liverpool Trading Standards Officers took action after Evans and Hargreaves carried out painting, roofing and guttering work on a number of properties during the summer of 2013 after cold calling in Liverpool 9.

The work was of poor quality, they didn’t give the required paperwork or cancellation notices and failed to return and put right faults when contacted by the homeowners.

They were also charged with fraud by North Wales Police following a complaint about overcharging for work they claimed to have carried out on a property in the Wrexham area. All of the home owners targeted were elderly.

His Honour Judge Hatton said that he had to take into account the numbers of elderly victims, the fact the offences were committed over a period of time and in different parts of the country. He said that the only appropriate sentence was custodial and the difference in sentencing reflected the fact that Evans was clearly the ringleader.

He sentenced Evans to 10 months in prison and Hargreaves to six months. He ordered that they both be disqualified from driving for two years as they were itinerant fraudulent traders and ordered that a vehicle seized from Evans during the investigation be forfeited.

John McHale, head of Liverpool Consumer Protection, said: “This is an important result for the service and its partners working together to protect vulnerable residents in the city. We will not accept the targeting of consumers and in particular vulnerable members of our communities by rogue traders. Consumers have rights and those rights need to be protected and we will continue to ensure we use all statutory powers at our disposal to deal with rogue trader activity.

“We would also advise people not to accept work from building workers offering to do work when they cold call. This case is a classic example for homeowners.”