Rogue trader jailed for four years
A 56-year-old rogue trader has been jailed after committing further offences.
Andrew Jay, of Brook Close, Carlton Colville, formerly of Park Road, Lowestoft, was sentenced to four years and given a five-year criminal behaviour order when he appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday 3 May.
Jay pleaded guilty to eight offences of fraud which occurred between May 2016 and August 2017 at several locations in Lowestoft, as well as in Carlton Colville and Caister-on-Sea in Norfolk.
At one of the properties in Lowestoft, between March 2017 and November 2017, Jay accepted a payment of £2,600 to build a wall but he failed to complete it.
During the same year, between February 2017 and July 2017, at another property in Lowestoft, Jay accepted £7,500 to build a driveway, which he also failed to complete.
At another Lowestoft property, while operating his business AGH builders, Jay accepted £54,000 for work that he also failed to complete in September 2017.
Jay also admitted breaching a suspended sentence of 16-months imprisonment, suspended for two years, given at Ipswich Crown Court in April 2017 for three offences of breaching a criminal behavior order.
He also admitted theft and breaching an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order) made by Norwich Crown Court in 2014.
Jay was jailed for 28 months and given the ASBO in 2014 after he took thousands of pounds from customers of his building and gardening company but failed to complete the work, or in some cases did no work at all.
He first came to the attention of the police and Suffolk Trading Standards as over a period of time, a number of members of the public came forward.
Officers from Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk Trading Standards worked together once again to jointly investigate the numerous complaints that they had received to help bring Jay to justice.
Temporary Sergeant Lee Cudmore said: "A number of people trusted Jay to carry out the work on their homes and were severely let down by him. Some of the work was started and never finished, while other work was accepted but never started at all.
“With the help of Suffolk Trading Standards, we were able to investigate the complaints about Jay’s business practice once again and we hope this sentence will provide some peace of mind to Jay’s victims.”
Councillor Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council said: “This sentence should serve as a warning to others that rogue traders will not be tolerated in Suffolk. The investigation is a great example of partnership working between Suffolk Trading Standards and Suffolk Constabulary, who are both committed to ensuring individuals such as Andrew Jay are brought before the criminal courts.
“If anyone is concerned that a rogue trader may be at their door, or has visited the property of a friend or neighbour, they should report it immediately to the police or Trading Standards.”
A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act is due to take place in June.
Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk Trading Standards offer the following advice when hiring a trader:
o Avoid any cold callers that may turn up or ring unexpectedly or unannounced offering to carry out repairs.
o When seeking a reliable trader, talk to family, friends and neighbours to get recommendations, or look for a Trust mark-registered firm. Report any unscrupulous traders either to police or the National Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 03454 040506.
o Ask traders to provide you with written contact details, and consider getting written quotes (not estimates) from at least three traders. Ask about insurance backed guarantees.
o Consumer law allows you a seven day ’cooling-off period’ so you can change your mind about any service offered by someone who comes, uninvited or by appointment, to your home and makes a contract with you.
o Keep back part of the cost until the repair job has been satisfactorily completed. This will provide an incentive for the trader to complete the job or put right any problems.
Further crime prevention advice regarding cold callers can be found by visiting: https://www.suffolk.police.uk/sites/suffolk/files/coldcallers.pdf