Rogue traders, Thomas Johnson, 57, and Tommy Johnson, 29, of Birtley Road, Guildford in Surrey, have received sentencing today at Exeter Crown Court.
Thomas Johnson senior was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, and a curfew order. Thomas Johnson junior received 18 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, and 150 hours community service.
The defendants were ordered to pay £1,000 each in contribution to costs, and a Proceeds of Crime Act investigation was ordered into Thomas Johnson senior.
The Johnsons pleaded guilty in August to offences under the Fraud Act 2006, following an investigation by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards.
The court had heard that the Johnsons had used the name of a dissolved company, Nuway Surfacing Ltd, to target and cold call elderly residents across the south west offering to resurface driveways.
Thomas Johnson wore a meaningless identification badge that he had issued himself.
The defendants’ vehicles had orange lights fitted on the top, and were marked with reflective strips often seen on legitimate highway contractors’ vehicles, in an attempt to gain people’s trust.
The couple charged their victims, aged between 64 and 86, well in excess of the appropriate rate for driveway dressing work, which involves a film of hot tar covered by loose chippings.
Their work was also not completed to the required standard.
The Johnsons’ guilty plea related to substandard work, fraudulent non provision of cancellation rights, the use of false paperwork, and other articles for use in the fraud.
Referring to their resurfacing work for consumers, Recorder R. Onslow said today that the couple had “steamrollered over their rights.”
The sentence takes place during national Rogue Trader week. Police forces and Trading Standards services across the country are having activities and publicity aimed at encouraging the reporting and identification of rogue traders for investigation.
Victims of doorstep offending and rogue trading tend to be elderly and vulnerable and can suffer terribly both emotionally and physically after an offence.
Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Devon and Somerset’s Trading Standards Service, Councillor Roger Croad, said:
“Rogue Traders are criminals who take advantage of householders by using high pressure sales techniques. Their work is often sub-standard or not required at all.
“This case is an example of how traders carried out poor work at inflated cost to their victims after gaining their trust by using false documents and identification. Their sentencing today is a reminder to others that their actions can be disrupted and can lead to enforcement action.
“I would again like to thank the victims for their courage in agreeing to give evidence in this matter, and welcome the sentence that the court has given today.”
Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Devon and Somerset Trading Standards, Councillor David Hall, said:
“Rogues like this operate across county boundaries and our Trading Standards have to as well in order to deal with them effectively.
“The Devon and Somerset service is well placed to meet these challenges.”
A list of businesses approved by Trading Standards is available on the website, www.devonsomersettradingstandards.gov.uk/buy-with-confidence
To find out more about their rights as a consumer, telephone the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service on 0345 0404 506 or visit their website, www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue
Businesses can also get advice from Devon and Somerset Trading Standards by calling 01392 381381 or by visiting their website, www.devonsomersettradingstandards.gov.uk