A rogue Norfolk builder was sentenced on March 6 to four years in prison after being found guilty on two counts of fraudulent trading, and one count of money laundering. Following the trial at Norwich Crown Court the judge commended Norfolk County Council Trading Standards for a thorough investigation.
John George Miller (46) left eight families thousands of pounds out of pocket after carrying out work that was described in court as shoddy and potentially dangerous. Miller operated in the Norwich area through his companies HLD Construction Ltd and more recently as JGM Construction Services Ltd.
The court heard that John Miller ran his business in a manner which constituted fraudulent trading. He persisted in taking on contracts for building work and taking money from customers in the knowledge that he couldn’t complete the work properly or at all.
Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “It was dreadful to hear that in one case a parent was left with a new born baby in a house with no heating or hot water in March for weeks.
“In all the cases the crimes led to a lot of stress, distress and considerable financial loss for people who were simply looking to make improvements to their homes.”
During the trial the court heard expert evidence from a chartered building surveyor who had found a long lists of faults with work carried out by Miller at two properties. These included uneven and sloping floors, a front door that had been hung in a frame that was too large with gaps evident when the door was shut, and an undulating wall.
On those two properties alone the cost of remedial work was estimated at more than £14,000.
Other properties were left with unevenly spaced roof joists, leaking windows and a roof that had started to sag under its own weight. The total cost of finishing or putting right the work carried out by Miller is estimated to be nearly £120,000.
Sophie Leney, Head of Norfolk County Council Trading Standards, said: “Mr Miller’s actions had a significant impact on the victims in this case, most of whom have had to pay out large sums of additional money to put things right.
“We take such matters very seriously, because of the harm caused to both consumers and the reputation of local businesses in the building trade. We would like to thank everyone who provided evidence to enable us to bring a successful prosecution.”