Trading Standards enforcement
We enforce over 80 parliamentary Acts and 2,000 supporting pieces of legislation. Read our legislation enforced list for further details.
In doing so we recognise that while most people want to comply with legal requirements, some will operate outside the law (both intentionally and unintentionally).
We adopt a staged approach to enforcement, with advice and informal action fully explored to resolve the matter in the first instance. However we will consider taking immediate formal action for serious breaches. All enforcement work is undertaken in accordance with our Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
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Sentencing of Plumbing and Heating Engineer
On 10 November 2023 at King's Lynn Crown Court, Mr Ben Draper of Wisbech was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment. Mr Draper had previously pleaded guilty to one offence of contravening professional diligence under consumer protection regulations, and four offences under the Theft Act, for dishonestly appropriating monies for works which he did not undertake.
At the request of Trading Standards, the judge also issued a Criminal Behaviour Order against Mr Draper for a period of five years, to ensure that any future work he undertakes complies with good commercial practices. Any breach of this order is deemed contempt of court. Costs of £1000 were also awarded to Trading Standards.
If you require further information on this specific case, or the work of Trading Standards in general, please do not hesitate to contact Norfolk Trading Standards.
Rogue Business Alert
Norfolk Trading Standards are warning businesses and consumers not to use an online business's website which purports to be based in Norfolk.
Norfolk Trading Standards have received several complaints about Liquid Essences who run a website www.liquidessences.co. The business is thought to be operated from outside of the UK but uses a fictitious Norfolk address to give the impression that it is UK based. All attempts to contact the business have failed.
It appears that they are selling ethanol, claiming that it is food grade. Food grade ethanol is alcohol that is intended for human consumption, and as such must meet certain quality standards.
Food grade ethanol is typically used as a base for distilled spirits like vodka, gin and liqueurs.
Norfolk Trading Standards have sampled this product from Liquid Essences and had it analysed, it is not food grade, it is a medical product.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency have informed Norfolk Trading standards that the product is a medicinal product for skin disinfection. Furthermore, it is not licensed in the UK and should not be sold in the UK.
Consumers should stop using this product and dispose of safely. Businesses should stop using this product and dispose of safely and inform Norfolk Trading Standards if you have used this product to make any food or drink products.
You can contact us via our partners the Citizens Advice helpline online via their website or by calling 0808 223 1133 (freephone).
You can also report other scams to Action Fraud, the UK national fraud office, using their online fraud reporting tool or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Prosecution of Builder
On 16 August 2023 at King's Lynn Magistrates' Court, Mr Ben Draper of Wisbech pleaded guilty to: -
(a) one offence contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, of:
- Requiring advance payment for works (including materials) and not using them for that purpose.
- Failing to carry out works with reasonable care and skill.
- Failing to carry out work within a reasonable time or at all.
- Failing to engage with contracted consumers to resolve concerns and complaints and
- Failing to refund monies he owed to his contracted customers following his failure to undertake the work.
(b) four offences of dishonestly appropriating monies for works which he did not undertake, and by his failure to refund monies he intended to permanently deprive consumers of their property, contrary to the Theft Act 1968.
After deliberation, the Magistrates decided this matter should be sent to the Crown Court on a date to be confirmed, for a higher level of sentencing, along with consideration for a Criminal Behaviour Order as to his future conduct.
The circumstances of the case are that Mr Draper, a self-employed builder, contracted with at least twelve consumers across Norfolk to undertake building and home improvement works, including boiler replacements. Mr Draper requested deposits from the consumers totalling just under £29,000 to secure contracts. Mr Draper then failed to attend the consumer's properties to undertake the work or undertook work of a poor standard; he also failed in some cases to register boiler/appliances with the requisite safety bodies. Mr Draper then blocked consumers' ability to access communication with him and failed to refund monies for his failure to complete the works. This caused the victims financial and emotional distress and necessitated additional expenditure to employ other traders to complete the work.
Sentencing of Builder
On 6 March 2023 at King's Lynn Crown Court, Mark Peter Bye of Clacton and formerly of Britannia Road, Norwich was sentenced, having previously pleaded guilty to contravening professional diligence under consumer protection regulations.
As the judge indicated at the hearing on 4 January 2023, Mr Bye has been sentenced to:
- 8 months imprisonment, suspended for 21 months, and
- 200 hours' unpaid work
The judge made it clear that, if Mr Bye does not complete his 200 hours or commits an offence within the next 21 months, this will be in breach of his suspended sentence, and he will be imprisoned.
At the request of Trading Standards, the judge issued an open-ended Criminal Behaviour Order, which requires Mr Bye to adopt professional standards in any future home improvement works he undertakes, limiting his capacity to seek upfront payments ahead of satisfactory completion of building works. Any breach of this order is deemed contempt of court.
Compensation for Mr Bye's victims, who provided evidence for the Trading Standards case, and prosecution costs will be considered at a financial hearing later in the year.