20th October 2023

Jail for Plymouth rogue trader

A fraudster who tricked residents into unnecessary building work has been jailed following an investigation by Heart of the South West Trading Standards.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
This case has taken a long time to conclude but I hope it sends a clear message to rogue traders

A rogue trader who scammed homeowners – including a blind person – into undertaking unnecessary home renovation work has been jailed thanks to action by Heart of the South West Trading Standards.

Ambrose Christopher Reilly (48) from Plymouth cold-called one resident in September 2019 and offered to carry out painting work for £200. With that price being agreed to, Reilly persuaded the customer to spend £17,000 to re-render the house. The suspicious customer contacted Trading Standards, who stepped in and employed a surveyor who assessed that the rendering work was entirely unnecessary.

In another case, in June 2020 Reilly cold-called a resident and told him that his property needed a new roof. The same surveyor also concluded that the work was unnecessary.

Reilly committed the offences while under a 15-month suspended sentence for an unrelated offence of affray.

In August at Plymouth Crown Court Reilly pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. He was ordered to serve a one-year prison sentence on 18 October.

In summing up Judge HHJ Johnson said that one of the victims was blind and told Reilly: “You lied… in order to gain significant sums, for work that you knew was not required.

“These are made more serious (by previous convictions) including fraud by false representation including an elderly lady; then convicted of selling counterfeit goods and in respect of that, you received a custodial sentence.

“There’s nothing that persuades me to suspend the sentence. Your apparent lack of remorse means the only appropriate sentence is immediate custody.”

Alex Fry, Operations Manager for Heart of the South West Trading Standards, said: “This case has taken a long time to conclude but I hope it sends a clear message to rogue traders that where necessary we will put you before the Courts no matter how long it takes. I would like to pay tribute to the victims in this case for coming forward and reporting the incidents and attending court to give evidence.”

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