A rogue trader has been jailed for 10 months after pleading guilty to two separate incidents that took place in Oxfordshire. Bringing this rogue trader to court was only possible due to the partnership working between Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.
A number of complaints were received about a company called 1st Choice Guttering Maintenance Ltd, operated by Tom Mobey. Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service investigated the complaints and found that elderly and vulnerable people were having unnecessary and worthless work carried out on their roof.
The first was an elderly victim living alone in Yarnton. Work was carried out on the roof and the victim paid a total of £6,100. The second victim lived in Didcot and had work carried out to her roof, paying Mr Mobey £6,750.
An independent expert identified that all the work carried out was worthless and at one property the expert did not believe that any work was necessary.
Charges were laid in relation to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations for misleading and aggressive practices and The Fraud Act.
Martin Woodley, Doorstep Crime Team Leader from Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service, praised the two victims for coming forward and warns that this is not a one off incident: “This type of fraudulent activity is happening frequently in Oxfordshire, where the victims are swindled out of their life savings, for unnecessary and overpriced work. Being a victim of such crimes can have a detrimental effect on the victim’s health and their confidence. The Trading Standards Service and Thames Valley Police are working hard to tackle and deal with those prolific individuals or organised gangs that target and prey on the most vulnerable people in Oxfordshire.
“To avoid becoming a victim yourself, do not make an instant decision on one cold call. If you are interested in work being carried out, then speak to family or friends to discuss it, do some online checks on the internet and speak to other reputable traders, getting at least three different quotes.”
Councillor Rodney Rose, the Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, who also has Cabinet responsibility for the Trading Standards Service, said: “This is a great result for the County Council’s Trading Standards Service and for our partnership with Thames Valley Police. Not only was this matter brought successfully before the courts, but it also saw both victims having their money returned. However, these crimes can have a lasting effect on people, so preventative action is very important.”
The Trading Standards Service and their work to tackle doorstep crime is part of Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service's 365alive campaign, an initiative designed to make the county a safer place through a range of educational and preventative community work. For further advice see www.365alive.co.uk