Trading Standards secure compensation for rogue trader victims

Victims of father and son fraudsters who targeted elderly people across the South West offering to resurface driveways will receive compensation thanks to the efforts of Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service.

Rogue trader Thomas Johnson, 57 of Birtley Road, Guildford in Surrey, has been ordered to pay £6,500 under the Proceeds of Crime Act following a financial investigation into the profits he made from his illegal activity.

At Exeter Crown Court in October last year Johnson was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, suspended for two years and a three-month curfew order where he must be at his address between 9pm and 7am.

His son, 29-year old Tommy Johnson received 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 150 hours community service.

The pair, who pleaded guilty to offences under the Fraud Act 2006, were also ordered to pay £1,000 each in contribution to costs.

Victims came from communities around the South West including Modbury, Ivybridge, Dorchester, Bridgwater, Totnes, Marldon and Diptford.

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.

In an attempt to gain people’s trust Thomas Johnson wore a meaningless identification badge that he had issued himself, and tried to make his vehicle look like an official highways maintenance car with orange lights fitted on top and reflective strips on the body.

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.

Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Devon and Somerset’s Trading Standards Service, Councillor Roger Croad, said:

“Victims of doorstep offending and rogue trading tend to be elderly and vulnerable and can suffer terribly both emotionally and physically after an offence.

“No amount of money can make up for this, but I hope our efforts go some way to compensating those involved in this case, especially given their courage in agreeing to give evidence in this matter.

“Thankfully this sort of thing is rare, but Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service will continue to take enforcement action against dishonest tradesmen in order to protect local residents, particularly the most vulnerable, from unfair trading practices.”

Somerset County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards, Councillor David Hall, said:

“This result serves as another reminder that we will not tolerate rogue traders in our area. We will continue to work hard to disrupt their activities, pursue enforcement action and use this legislation to ensure criminals do not keep all the proceeds of their crimes.

“Cases like this highlight the importance of using recognised, suitably qualified and accredited tradesmen. I encourage residents search for a Trading Standards approved businesses in Devon or Somerset through our ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme website at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk.”