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Malvern rogue trader fined for defrauding 87 year old

At Hereford Magistrates Court on the 5 July, James Thomas Smith aged 55, of Hawthorn Lane, Newlands, Malvern was fined and given a three month curfew for rogue trader offences against an 87 year old gentleman from Cradley.

In a case taken by Herefordshire Council, Smith had cold called retired military gentlemen, who has Parkinson’s disease, back in August 2011 and persuaded him to have the moss pressure washed off his bungalow roof for £650. Smith, trading at the time as Town and Country Roof Coating Systems, was found guilty of fraud by dishonestly demanding an additional £150 for work which never took place. He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to failing to give the homeowner the required seven day cancellation period and falsely claiming on his flyers he was a locally approved contractor.  In mitigation, Smith claimed to have many satisfied customers in the local area.
 
The Magistrates imposed a three month curfew requiring him to remain at home between 7pm and 7am each day. He was ordered to pay £350 compensation to the victim and a fine and costs totalling £3,181. 

Herefordshire Council’s principal trading standards officer, Tim Thorne, said: “Tackling rogue traders who prey on the elderly and vulnerable is the number one priority for our Trading Standards team. This is one of many cases we have taken this year, with the valuable help of West Mercia police, to clamp down on this type of doorstep crime.

“This sentence should act as a strong warning to other unscrupulous traders to stay away from the people of Herefordshire. Cold calling for roof coating services is one of the biggest scams to have swept the UK in recent years. Moss does not damage your roof and should never be washed off in this way. Painting the tiles serves no useful purpose whatsoever and the whole process is simply unnecessary work.

“Consumers whether vulnerable or not should never deal with anyone who cold calls them at the door or indeed on the telephone. Virtually all rogue trading is operated in this way.

Anyone needing property repairs is advised to consult the council’s trader register at www.traderregister.org/herefordshire.