Don’t get caught out by summer conmen, trading standards warn

A warning has gone out to residents in Nottingham to beware of rogue gardeners and builders operating in the area over the summer.

The City Council’s trading standards team sees an increase during the warmer months of reports of con men offering building and landscaping services for the home and garden.

These scams sometimes begin on social media platforms where rogue traders will advertise for work. Householders are then asked for payment upfront, either in part or in full, before little or no work is carried out.

Jane Bailey, Trading Standards Manager at Nottingham City Council, said: “It’s understandable at this time of year that people’s thoughts are turning to their homes and, especially, their gardens. We spend most time there in the summer and we invite friends and family around.

“Our advice is always to seek two or three quotes for any job, and try to take recommendations for reliable and reputable tradespeople. Never sign up to anything, or agree a job, on the doorstep or after a quick search on the internet or social media.

“We are aware currently of a number of incidents of residents doing precisely this and being caught out. What can then compound the situation is that victims are reluctant to come forward and report the rogue trader because they feel embarrassed about admitting they were deceived into handing over money.

“However, it’s really important that they do contact us in those circumstances. We will investigate any incident like this and as well as being able to warn other people, we are able to secure prosecutions against offenders providing we have the evidence to put before the courts.”

The warning comes after the recent conviction of Jason Clarke, who admitted three charges of fraud.

The 34-year-old, of Maplin Road, Leicester, appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 24 July where he was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, and 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to repay £3,067 to his three Nottingham victims. Between May and October 2018, Clarke was contacted through Facebook and agreed to the work. Two jobs were for garden landscaping and the other for a bathroom refit.

In two of the cases, he was paid upfront and then completed less than a day’s work. In the third case, he was paid in full for the job but did no work whatsoever.  

In his sentencing, District Judge Leo Pyle described Clarke as ‘a persuasive conman’.

Anyone wishing to report a rogue trader, or seeking more information or advice, is asked to call Nottingham City Council trading standards on 0115 844 5018.

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