A rogue trader who operated across four counties in the South West has been jailed following a prosecution by Dorset Council Trading Standards.
Thomas Edward Turner carried out various home and garden maintenance jobs at properties in Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Devon in 2017 and 2018 at grossly inflated prices.
A second man, Aaron Eli Brown, was also given a prison sentence for laundering money on Turner’s behalf.
At Bournemouth Crown Court on March 22 Turners was sentenced to two years and eight months’ imprisonment, having previously pleaded guilty to an offence under the Fraud Act 2006.
He admitted that between August 1, 2017 and September 8, 2018 he knowingly participated in a fraudulent business known as ‘All Seasons’.
Fraudulent behaviour was identified at eight properties where he had carried out a mix of roofing, guttering, driveway and path repairs, moss removal, jet washing and garden work. A catalogue of excessive charging, unnecessary work and charging for work not done was revealed when these cases were investigated by Dorset Council trading standards officers.
The court heard that Turner would approach elderly and often vulnerable victims and frighten them into believing that their roofs had serious problems which required immediate attention. Two of the victims were in the later stages of dementia and one was registered blind.
His men would start work immediately and undertake unnecessary and sub-standard work. The victims paid in advance for the work, which was grossly overpriced, by cash or bank transfer.
In August 2018 police arrested Turner at a victim’s house in Andover, Hampshire and trading standards officers in Dorset became involved due to other complaints. Subsequent investigation of Turner’s bank accounts led to the details of seven other victims being traced and together they were found to have lost more than £100,000 between them.
Brown was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment for two offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Councillor Jill Haynes, Portfolio Holder for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services at Dorset Council said: “This is a significant case affecting vulnerable consumers in several counties. Our Trading Standards team will continue to give a high priority to tackling instances of unfair and fraudulent trading like this, especially where the victims are more vulnerable. Anyone trading in this manner can expect formal enforcement action to be taken against them.”