News item

Persistent conman gets two year custodial sentence and five year ASBO

On Tuesday 11 February 2014, Thomas COLLINS-JOYCE, aged 48, of  Gosford Street, Liverpool was sentenced at Preston Crown Court to two years imprisonment and was made subject to a five year Anti-Social Behaviour Order on Conviction.  

This follows action taken by Wirral Council’s Trading Standards Department, Warrington Trading Standards Department and the Crown Prosecution Service.  

Thomas COLLINS-JOYCE was initially convicted on 15 October 2012, for a Fraud offence after cold calling to the home address of a seventy-five year old Wirral consumer and defrauding her out of £4,347.00 for building work that was in fact unnecessary, substandard and valued at £360.  At Wirral Magistrates’ Court District Judge Abelson sentenced COLLINS-JOYCE to six months imprisonment that was subsequently reduced to four months imprisonment on appeal. 

On 20 January 2014, at Runcorn Magistrates’ Court, COLLINS-JOYCE pleaded guilty to two technical offences brought by Warrington Trading Standards.  In June 2013, he cold called to the home addresses of two residents living in Warrington who at the time were 77 and 92 years of age.  In both cases COLLINS-JOYCE failed to provide the residents with a notice of their right to cancel a contract within seven days, otherwise known as a “Cooling off” period that COLLINS-JOYCE knew he had a legal duty to provide.  In one of the cases, the 92 year old resident had to have further work done to repair the work initially carried out by COLLINS-JOYCE on her driveway, patio and drain.       

Less than a month after his release from custody on 15 December 2012, COLLINS-JOYCE committed a similar offence in Preston.  He cold called to the home address of an eighty four year old resident, a widower who lived alone in the Poulton – le – Fylde area of Preston.  Over a period of five days, the resident was targeted and defrauded out of over £6,000 for building work which again was largely unnecessary and, where it had actually been carried out, was shoddy and overpriced.  

The estimated total value of the work actually carried out is between £400 & £500.  The resident was also charged for work that he was deceived into thinking had been done. COLLINS-JOYCE and his nephew Christopher John JOYCE, aged 29, of Penrose Avenue, Blackpool, also purported to re tarmac the driveway but did not excavate the existing tarmac but just covered it in a layer of slurry type mix that they painted black. COLLINS-JOYCE and COLLINS were prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service and pleaded guilty to Fraud offences at Preston Crown Court on 5 November 2013. They were sentenced on 11 February 2014 to two years imprisonment and one years imprisonment, respectively.
In all cases, pressure and intimidating behaviour were used to overbear the will of the elderly and vulnerable residents. 

In sentencing COLLINS-JOYCE and COLLINS, Her Honour Judge Badley described COLLINS-JOYCE behaviour as, “Disgraceful conduct” adding that it was, “Cynically done to get money from an elderly and vulnerable gentleman”. She stated that COLLINS was part of the scheme and that he knew that it was a dishonest enterprise and that he knew that his uncle was dishonest and described the case as an elaborate scheme involving the “meeting of two dishonest minds”.

Her Honour Judge Badley described the offence as a “confidence fraud, characterised by a degree of planning and multiple transactions against a particularly vulnerable victim”. She added that COLLINS-JOYCE had relevant previous convictions for similar types of fraud carried out under the pretence of work being done and that within a month of release from custody had come up with an elaborate scheme in company with his nephew”.      

Her Honour Judge Badley praised the 84 year old Preston victim stating that “he was filled with guilt by being taken in but that he had nothing to be ashamed of as he felt that he was doing the best for his house and for his family”.

Having taken into account a witness statement from an officer from Wirral Trading Standards outlining the detail and similarities of the above three offences, Her Honour Judge Badley granted the application brought by the Crown Prosecution Service for an Anti-Social Behaviour Order on Conviction on the terms sought but widened the geographical area to cover the whole of England and Wales.      

The terms of the ASBO prohibit COLLINS-JOYCE anywhere within England and Wales from making unsolicited calls at private dwellings, by visit, by telephone or by leaflet drops or any other means, for the purpose of obtaining building work (including repairs and maintenance work); cold calling or arranging for another to cold call on his behalf, in relation to building work, without first having a specific appointment with the consumer to attend at the address; being on or in private premises in order to carry out building work without the express written prior permission of the owner; persuading, encouraging, coercing or otherwise harassing occupiers of premises to access additional monies from any source in order to meet demands for payments that were not originally agreed and not to incite or encourage others to commit any act prohibited by the Order. The Order lasts for five years. Should COLLINS-JOYCE breach the Order, he faces up to five years in prison.

If you are cold called by a rogue trader or need advice regarding traders cold calling, then please contact Trading Standards by phoning 08454 04 05 06.
DATE: 13 February