A window fitter who carried out a ‘cynical’ series of offences has been jailed for two years and four months following an investigation and prosecution brought by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards.
Ajay Rattu, who operated Nuneaton-based Coldsealed Windows with Paul John Blower, cold-called Warwickshire residents offering new or replacement windows, patio doors or other building work. They took large deposits and then carried out little or no work. When consumers asked for their deposits back no refunds were paid. Ten victims lost approximately £14,000 in total.
Blower was sentenced to 20 months, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and given a three-month weekend curfew. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,400 and a victim surcharge.
One victim agreed to pay Blower £3,000 to carry out alterations to her bathroom to accommodate her disabled son. She made an initial payment of £500 but Blower never started the work.
Another victim agreed to employ Rattu and Blower to carry out a £25,000 extension to his home and paid them £5,000 up front for a roof. However, no roof was ever supplied. The pair later asked for another £2,500 before work could start. The money was paid, and a small amount of work was carried out in the victim’s garden, but this quickly tailed off.
Deposits that clients believed were being paid to Coldsealed Windows was actually paid into Rattu’s personal account or into the account of another company of which Blower was a director.
At a hearing held at Warwick Crown Court on November 4, 2019, Rattu and Blower pleaded guilty to one offence of fraudulent trading under section 9(1) of the Fraud Act 2006. The pair were sentenced on January 24.
In his sentencing remarks, HH Judge Potter stated that Rattu and Blower had undertaken a particularly cynical piece of offending. He said that they did not feel remorse but dismay at being caught and had neither the guts nor courage to face up to what they had done.
Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “These individuals took large amounts of money from their victims, some of whom were elderly and vulnerable, and delivered little or nothing in return. I’m delighted that Warwickshire Trading Standards have taken this action to protect the consumers of Warwickshire.”
Warwickshire Trading Standards began their investigation in 2016. Victims were repaid in October 2019 and the court ordered Blower to make a payment of £620 compensation to a further victim who had come to light during the investigation.