Builder, Mark Everett, who overcharged a West Suffolk resident and left their property structurally unsafe, has been sentenced to two years imprisonment, which is suspended for 24 months. He has also been ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.
Mr Everett, 52 from Hawstead, was sentenced today (10 April 2019) at Ipswich Crown Court, having previously pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading, as a result of a prosecution by Suffolk Trading Standards.
Possible orders for costs and compensation are part of an on-going Proceeds of Crime Act process and will be known at a later date.
Following a complaint to Suffolk Trading Standards by a resident in Bury St Edmunds, a survey of the property and building work was completed which highlighted a number of serious concerns.
Most notably, the family’s safety at their home was at risk as a direct result of the work. Mr Everett failed to tell the family and building control about the presence of a well, which was discovered during the building work and he failed to satisfactorily support the structure.
In addition, the building work undertaken required approval from building regulations and the instruction of a structural engineer, neither of which happened. The survey also found that the customer had significantly overpaid for the work; over £58,000 had been paid, however the work completed has been valued at only £18,500.
Mary Strang, Principal Trading Standards Officer, said: “We are pleased to have brought this rogue trader to justice. Not only is it important to secure such convictions to protect residents, but also to protect legitimate traders.
“It can be difficult to find a builder to carry out home improvements but using a resource such as Checkatrade and checking for Suffolk Trading Standards Approved traders, is a good way to find reliable contractors.”
If you have suffered a problem with a trader, further advice can be sought from the national Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.