26th March 2024

Rogue trader given banning order

A builder who ripped off his customers has been banned from running a business.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
We're pleased the court has put a stop to the possibility of Mr Collins targeting more people in Redbridge and leaving them out of pocket

A rogue trader who scammed tens of thousands of pounds out of his victims, leaving a trail of unfinished construction projects in his wake, has been banned from running a company for seven years following an investigation by Redbridge Trading Standards.

Matthew Collins, of Cat Hill, Barnet, pocketed nearly £70,000 from homeowners across the London Borough of Redbridge for work including major refurbishments and large landscape gardening projects that were left either half-finished or barely started.

Collins, who previously went under the name Cohen but changed his name by deed poll, had pleaded guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 1 June 2023 to two unfair trading offences, and was sentenced to two separate two-year imprisonments to run concurrently, suspended for two years.

Under a Criminal Behaviour Order, Collins has now been disqualified from becoming a company director for seven years and is not to have any part in forming contracts or handling clients’ money in future employment.

He must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and complete an eight-day rehabilitation programme, while £1,800 must be paid towards the prosecution costs at the rate of £75 a month.

Collins was charged with two offences relating to his conduct between March 2017 and September 2018 following several complaints from local residents. The first count concerned agreements he entered into for building work through his company, Crest Driveway Solutions Ltd, which was dissolved in December 2017. Count two concerned the subsequent agreements he entered into as a sole trader.

Collins’s practices included inflating the prices of quoted work after it had started, taking cash deposits for work that was never completed, and failing to honour refunds.

Redbridge Council Corporate Director of Communities, Steve Moore, said: “We’re pleased the court has put a stop to the possibility of Mr Collins targeting more people in Redbridge and leaving them out of pocket.

“Mr Collins should be ashamed of his unscrupulous behaviour, and he has finally got his comeuppance. Collins ripped off our hardworking neighbours who dreamed of improving their homes, only to be left with a job half-done or not even started.

“I would like to thank our Trading Standards Team, who acted swiftly on the complaints they received by building a solid and robust case against Mr Collins. The sentencing should serve as a warning to others who they think can earn money through dishonesty at the expense of others.”

One response to “Rogue trader given banning order”

  1. Elle Woodford says:

    I honestly and truly wished I could say that Trading Standards acted swiftly but they did not!! As a group of people that had been conned by Matt Cohen/Collins we had to push, push, push all the time. We gathered information, even got the national press involved before TS eventually became involved; and then the change of staff!!! So many people in the beginning starting but not finishing at TS office. If TS had taken us seriously in the beginning a few people would have been saved the heartache and financial loss they did. Also noted is that Redbridge made an order for the payment of their court case at a rate of £75 per month but nothing for the people that were conned!

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