Abingdon builder sentenced for fraud

An Abingdon based building company director has been sentenced to four years imprisonment for four charges of fraud by Oxford Crown Court today (Friday 24 September 2021).   

Nathan David Kingsbury – from Marcham, near Abingdon – was found guilty of dishonestly entering contracts for projects where he charged for materials he did not purchase and for failing to finish work; and what work he did carry out was substandard. This was despite being paid thousands of pounds by his victims.

The court action followed an investigation by Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team.

Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, said: “The vast majority of Oxfordshire’s builders complete their work on time and to their customers satisfaction. When this is not the case and traders take money for inadequate or dangerous work, or simply don’t do the work at all, then our trading standards team are here to protect residents from rogue trader activities.”

At the time of the offences, during 2018 and 2019, Mr Kingsbury was trading as Nathan Kingsbury Construction Ltd, as well entering into personal contracts for work when this company was in the process of being struck off at Companies House. He was contracted to complete work for several customers in Abingdon, including installing a new front door; a garage conversion; and a substantial ground floor re-modelling. Prices for the work ranged from £2,160 to £87,960.

In one case, work on behalf of a terminally ill woman was not even started despite her paying 60 per cent of the total cost up front prior to passing away. Mr Kingsbury then subsequently failed to carry out any of this work, despite her bereaved relatives arranging access to her former home for him on 13 separate occasions.

In the remaining two cases, Mr Kingsbury started work but failed to complete it after months of delays and having assured his victims they were his sole or priority clients, when he was in fact working on other jobs nearby. What work was done was of a poor standard and valued well below the price charged.

Two of his victims had to pay large additional sums of money to complete the work to make their homes safe and useable.

Abingdon resident Lorna Spurgeon said: “Mr. Kingsbury left our family in winter, with a house that was dangerous to live in, had limited heating, no kitchen, incomplete electrics, and was not fully weathertight or secure. We had no usable ground floor and significant portions of the first floor were held up by temporary supports. It has taken three years of our time, loss of income, and all our savings to rebuild the house from the devastation he left behind. The emotional impact on our young children, and ourselves, is still being felt today.”

Linked proceedings against Mr Kingsbury, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, are now under way. Mr Kingsbury was also disqualified from acting as a director of a company for five years.

Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, said: “We advise anybody who is looking for a reliable trader to always get a number of detailed quotes, check with friends and family for trusted recommendations and consider a trading standards’ approved trader, from our Buy With Confidence scheme.

“We would also advise that customers are cautious when agreeing the stage payments for large scale building projects. Paying in instalments for such work is entirely sensible but when the payment schedule is too heavily weighted towards the beginning of the work, as was the case with Mr Kingsbury, this can be a warning sign and can leave people heavily out of pocket with little work completed.”

Any Oxfordshire resident that has concerns about activity of this nature should report it to trading standards using the national consumer helpline 0808 223 1133.

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