A Redcar builder who cheated residents out of more than £30,000 has been sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, and fined £6,000 after pleading guilty to a number offences at Teesside Crown Court.
Ian Malcolm Hadden, trading as Hadden Loft Conversions and Joinery, pleaded guilty to making misleading and false statements in relation to building work and mismanaging his business whilst in financial difficulties.
The 47-year-old, of St. Mary’s Close, Bishop Auckland also advertised his services in contravention of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 - by claiming to be a member of the Trust-a-Trader and Check-a-Trader websites - when he had in fact been removed as a member due to bad feedback and customer complaints.
The investigation, led by the National Trading Standards Scambuster Team North East on behalf of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, identified sixvictims that had been targeted by Mr Hadden.
His victims lost between £10,000 and £30,000 after they received false claims as to when the agreed work would begin or be completed. Despite Mr Hadden’s claims that he would have completed the work for each and every customer, Mr Hadden was still promising to complete work in the lead up to the trial - nearly two years since his initial agreement.
In one instance, a customer who paid out over £14,000 for work on her property then had to borrow an additional £14,000 to cover the costs of hiring another builder to complete work, after Mr Hadden had left the job half complete and in a perilous state. She also received threatening messages from him after she contacted him to get the work resolved.
Judge Armstrong said Mr Hadden had ‘no business acumen’ and had ‘overstretched’ himself when taking on the work but accepted that he had shown remorse and lost his reputation because of these incidents.
Cllr Lynn Pallister, Cabinet Member for Health & Housing at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said:
“Whilst Mr Hadden is not what people would think of as the archetypal doorstep conman, his failure to complete work for these victims after taking many thousands of pounds from them has caused great stress and anxiety.
“Many have not been able to find the funds to rectify or complete the work while others have had to borrow from family or friends on top of the original monies they paid out. He has never apologised to his customers and was in no position to compensate them for his wrongdoing when the investigation by Scambusters began.”
National Trading Standards Chair, Lord Toby Harris said:
“Hadden Loft Conversions and Joinery misled a number of Cleveland households through its deceitful and inadequate building services, leaving many families out of pocket and – in some cases – seriously distressed.
“Our teams work around the clock to disrupt gangs and crooks who deceive members of our community, but we need your help as neighbours and friends to look out for anything suspicious. Anyone who is having difficulties with a trader either not completing work, or not returning deposits for work they have failed to begin, should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer.”
Notes to Editors
For more information about this case contact the regional Scambuster office on 01642 232940 or the Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council communications team on 01642 444517.
About National Trading Standards
- National Trading Standards is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
- National Trading Standards provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
- National Trading Standards funds the Scambuster Teams that target rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams:
1.Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CeNTSA)
2.North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)
3.Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)
4.Trading Standards North West (TSNW)
5.Tri Region Scambusters (TRS), on behalf of Trading Standards South East Ltd (TSSEL), East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and London Trading Standards Association (LoTSA)
6.Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)
7.Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and
8.Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)
There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
For more information, please visit www.nationaltradingstandards.uk