Rogue trader ordered to pay £30,000 in compensation to victims
Philip Ken SMALL, of Woodlands Park, Ledbury, Herefordshire, appeared at Truro Crown Court yesterday, 14 November 2013 for a Proceeds of Crime hearing. This follows his sentence of 30 months imprisonment on 10 August 2012 for offences of deception under the Theft Act 1968 and of fraudulent trading under the Fraud Act 2006, from which he gained in excess of £100,000.
The Court made a confiscation order against Small in the sum of £30,000 in respect of agreed undisclosed assets. The Judge ordered this amount to be paid as compensation (from the confiscation amount) to his 12 victims within six months or face a further 14 months in prison.
This is the final stage of a lengthy investigation by the South West Scambusters team into offences committed by Small dating back to 2006 and committed right across the South West and into Wales. They mostly involved roofing work, and in most cases by making unsolicited calls against the elderly and more vulnerable members of society. Small used a number of different business names and business ‘post-box’ addresses, which were frequently changed to make it difficult to be contacted by aggrieved consumers and easier to evade prosecution.
Small would target a new locality where, with his associates, he would deliver flyers and make cold calls. He would state that he was in the area and that he was carrying out roof repairs and that he specialised in bargeboards and fascia board repairs.
When customers expressed an interest in having work done, SMALL quoted a low figure, which the customers would agree to pay. However, shortly after starting the work, he informed them that he has identified major roof defects requiring repairs amounting to thousands of pounds.
The work in most cases was completed to a very poor standard, and was often unnecessary and over-charged. Small usually employed a small team of labourers to carry out the work. He would negotiate the price and deal with any paperwork. He rarely carried out the actual work himself. Victims were deceived into agreeing to have the work carried out through a combination of false representations and aggressive practices. In many cases the work was started almost immediately without the correct cancellation notice being issued or the seven-day cooling off period being given, leaving the victims feeling pressured to have the work completed and paying the vastly inflated prices.
Stephen Meale of Bristol City Council, which hosts the South West Scambusters Team, commented, ‘I am pleased that by using the powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act, we can not only bring rogue traders, who target the elderly and vulnerable on their own doorsteps, to account for their actions, but can also make them pay back a significant amount of money they have made from their criminal activity and return it to their victims.’
For more information about this case contact the regional Scambusters office on 0117 3521233 or to speak to the National Trading Standards Board regarding a more general enquiry please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
Scambusters is a NTSB funded project aimed at targeting rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing a support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams:
1. Central Trading Standards Authorities (CENTSA)
2. North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)
3. Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)
4. Trading Standards North West (TSNW)
5. Tri Region Enforcement Capacity (TREC), on behalf of Trading Standards South East Ltd (TSSEL), East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and London Trading Standards Association (LOTSA)
6. Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)
7. Yorkshire and the Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and
8. The Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)
There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
DATE: 15 November 2013