A rogue trader has been handed a three-year jail sentence following a long and complex investigation by Isle of Wight Trading Standards.
Simon Regan (58) left a trail of devastation and broken promises in his wake when he took thousands of pounds for substandard work on driveways.
In one of the biggest prosecutions ever brought by Isle of Wight Council, the court heard how Regan repeatedly bullied and lied to customers, making countless excuses for poor quality work carried out across three counties.
On 22 February, a jury at Southampton Crown Court unanimously convicted Regan of three counts of Fraudulent Trading, contrary to the Companies Act 2006, after a trial that lasted nearly five weeks. He was sentenced on 23 March to three years in prison and was disqualified from acting as a company director for six years.
James Potter, Isle of Wight Trading Standards Manager, said: “This was a long and complex investigation with many lines of enquiry we had to follow. Simon Regan and his companies caused a huge amount of detriment to our local residents and businesses with his rogue and fraudulent trading practices.
“Some of the things he said and excuses he made to his customers were bullying and simply staggering. We’re pleased the court has found him guilty of his offending.”
The court heard evidence from 65 witnesses from the Isle of Wight, Hampshire and Devon where Regan’s companies – Angel Coatings Ltd, Angel Coatings Resin Drives Ltd and National Resin Drives Ltd – had committed offences. The collective fraud of these contracts was valued at around £300,000.
Regan’s offending included gross overcharging, works that were poorly or incompetently installed, ten-year guarantees that were worthless or had little value, remedial works that were only partially undertaken or not undertaken at all, and the non-return of deposits paid when cancellation rights had been exercised.
Regan threatened to rip up customers’ driveways if he didn’t receive payment in full and when civil action was attempted in the county court, he issued further threats.
In 2018 he had signed a formal undertaking under the Enterprise Act 2002 to Trading Standards that he would improve his business practices. However, the complaints considerably escalated, which led to a criminal investigation.
Significant sums of money were turned over through his companies, which was not reflected in his accounts submitted to Companies House or HMRC. Regan spent a substantial amount of money on his gambling habit.
A timetable has been set for confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Amanda Gregory, Isle of Wight Council strategic manager for regulatory and community safety, said: “I want to thank the entire Trading Standards team but, in particular, the investigating officers in this case.
“Through sheer hard work and determination, the evidence was gathered to present in front of a jury. I also want to say thank you to all the witnesses in the case who attended court for facing the defendant, which we are aware causes a degree of anxiety, stress and inconvenience.
“To have achieved this result also wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support from our legal services and our prosecuting barrister.”
Councillor Karen Lucioni, Cabinet member for community protection, said: “The investigation suffered difficulties, including COVID-19 affecting timescales, but with perseverance we got to where we are today.
“Local consumers and businesses lost many thousands of pounds on works they had paid for.
“This was a team effort to get this result and our officers have to be congratulated. The case demonstrates that where the evidence exists of these fraudulent trading practices, Trading Standards will take appropriate action to protect local consumers and the honest, reliable businesses.”