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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Fraudulent Landscaper/Fencer - Compensation Secured for Victims

Mr Jamie Johnson, of Clenchwarton, pleaded guilty on 28 July 2021 to the offence of fraudulent trading; contrary to Section 9 of the Fraud Act 2006. The circumstances of the case are that Mr Johnson, a self-employed landscaper and fencer, contracted with a total of seventeen consumers (sixteen residing in Norfolk) between August 2018 and September 2020.

The contracts were mainly to carry out fencing, paving and landscaping. The work, if any was carried out, was to a poor standard; occasionally Mr Johnson would obtain deposits for the work and never return to the site to carry out the work or provide materials with the funds he had been paid.

He regularly failed to complete works that had been commenced, leaving the consumers to chase their funds, with him promising to make the appropriate refunds. Mr Johnson was paid a total of £26,505 from consumers and made no refunds.

On 1 November 2021 Mr Johnson was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court to 14 months imprisonment, immediate custody.

Today (7 March 2022) at Norwich Crown Court, Trading Standards made a confiscation order application under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which was granted by the court in the sum of £29,355.00.

These funds will be paid into the enforcement court, which will then distribute the appropriate compensation to the seventeen victims who provided evidence in the original case.

The defendant was given 6 months to pay the money, as the realisation of the funds is through the sale of a property. If he fails to do so an 8-month imprisonment default sentence will be imposed, at the end of which the debt will still be due.

Sentencing of Motor Parts Trader

On 27 October 2021 at Norwich Crown Court, Mr Peter Bradley of Norwich pleaded guilty to offences of contravening the requirements of professional diligence (contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008) and fraudulent trading (contrary to the Fraud Act 2006), by taking payment for and then failing to supply used motor vehicle engines.

On 25 February 2022, Mr Bradley was sentenced to:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment for fraudulent trading
  • His previous suspended sentence of 20 weeks’ imprisonment was activated, to be served consecutively (so a total of 6 months + 20 weeks)
  • No separate penalty for the offence under the consumer protection regulations
  • A criminal behaviour order restricting his trading activities, so as to prohibit the direct receipt of up-front payments from consumers and to require certain conduct relating to complaint handling, effective immediately and for indefinite duration

Mr Bradley, a sole trader operating as Find an Engine UK through a website, offered to supply used engines to a number of consumers. In each case, an up-front deposit or prepayment was requested, and in some cases further payments were also requested, but no engine was supplied. Over a period of 12 months, over £3000 was taken from 7 consumers who were witnesses in the case. One other customer was asked for an advance payment but having made checks and discovered reports of Mr Bradley’s previous conduct, decided not to proceed.

Mr Bradley had accepted a caution from Trading Standards in relation to similar conduct in September 2016. He continued with this conduct and following a further investigation Trading Standards prosecuted Mr Bradley in 2017. He was sentenced in April 2018 to 20 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, and he was made subject to a criminal behaviour order restricting his activities.

The current prosecution arose from yet another investigation when Mr Bradley was found to have continued this conduct even after the earlier prosecution.

In summing up, His Honour Judge Hardy QC stated, “most people would have been worried and yet without any apparent regard at all you carried on doing exactly that which brought you before the Court”. “Where a court imposes a suspended sentence, the court’s intention is to bring the offender to his senses and that he will keep out of trouble. But you didn’t. You engaged in exactly the same conduct.”

“I take no pleasure in doing this, but the fault is entirely yours.”

Proceeds of Crime Act Confiscation Order

On 19 January 2022 at Norwich Crown Court, Justine Long previously of Swanton Morley was made the subject of a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation order in the sum of £15,154.00, this being the criminal benefit derived from her conviction for offences in connection with her double-glazing business Beeston Windows.   

When the funds have been received, they will be made available as compensation to be paid to the seven victim’s in this case. Justine Long will have eight weeks to ensure the order is paid or face a default sentence of 10 months imprisonment.

Local media have been interested in this case throughout, and we understand that the EDP are likely to do a piece on the outcome either this evening or tomorrow.   

Sentencing of Fraudulent Builder

On Wednesday 12 January 2022 Her Honour Judge Bacon handed a further sentence to Mr Wesley Theobald at Norwich Crown Court.

Sentencing Mr Theobald to four months for each of the four fraud offences, the terms are to run concurrently alongside his existing custodial sentence. Following that time period Mr Theobald will be released on licence. A post-conviction Criminal Behaviour Order applied for by Trading Standards was granted by HHJ Bacon as being justified and proportionate to the matter. Significantly in this matter HHJ Bacon determined there should be no end date specified for this Order while Theobald remains an undischarged bankrupt.

A Proceeds of Crime timetable was reset to accommodate the further victim losses.

As part of her summing up the Judge, HHJ Bacon said “This matter has arisen due to more victims learning of their true victim status when you were sentenced in February 2021 for your fraudulent activities. Victims who trusted you paid significant money for which you talked lots and delivered little leaving them feeling cheated and upset. These victims who were vulnerable had their plight exacerbated by your leeching on them and their lives. It was significant that the judge delivered you a custodial sentence during the COVID period for February 2021. The judge clearly believed you required incarceration at that time”.

Prosecution of Fraudulent Builder

On 11 January 2022 at Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court, Mr Kyle Muir of Great Yarmouth pleaded guilty to:

  • One offence of knowingly and recklessly engaging in an unfair commercial practice, namely a home improvements business, which contravened the requirements of professional diligence
  • Two offences of knowingly being a party to the carrying on of a business for a fraudulent purpose
  • Three offences of committing fraud by dishonestly making a false representation to victims
  • One offence of committing fraud by dishonestly failing to disclose legal information to a victim

The particulars of the offending included the following practices:

Requiring money to be paid in advance for materials and services but failing to supply such materials and services 

  • Failing to advise the legal entitlement for contract cancellation
  • Failing to ensure that work carried out was with reasonable care and skill
  • Failing to ensure that work carried out was in accordance with structural Requirements
  • Failing to ensure work carried out was safe and in accordance with regulatory Requirements
  • Failing to refund monies paid by customers following a failure to undertake the work
  • The dishonest false representation that a customer’s funds were secure due to the defendant’s plant machinery of a £10,000 value being on the consumer’s property, when it was not his machine
  • The dishonest false representation the defendant’s business was an approved business of the Trustatrader.com scheme
  • The dishonest false representation the defendant’s company was a limited company and registered for VAT
  • The dishonest false representation the defendant’s business had entered into a contract for the provision of scaffolding by a legitimate third-party company when no such contract existed
  • The dishonest false representation by the sending of email correspondence from the defendant purporting to be another person providing scaffolding and requesting monies to be paid to a specified bank account

Mr Muir was the second co-defendant for the first offence above. The further offences listed above were all allegations for Muir alone, and related to his later business operations.

The circumstances of the case are that Mr Muir requested and received over £48,000 from victims but failed to complete any work he had been contracted to undertake. Muir left consumers with building work that was unsound and required rebuilding. Muir also left the premises of victims in a dangerous state. All victims were forced to pay other professionals to redo the work Muir had failed to complete.

Muir initially operated as part of Diamond Standard Renovations and later as Better Home Improvements and The Cladding and Roofing Company, creating online profiles and claiming his business was a Trustratrader.com company. Muir also sent correspondence purporting to be other persons in the names of legitimate local businesses, which subjected those legitimate businesses to harm of reputation.

The Magistrates determined the matter should be sent to the Crown Court on a date to be confirmed for a higher level of sentencing, and for Trading Standards to make an application for a confiscation investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Trading Standards have also given notice of their intention to apply for a Criminal Behaviour Order for Muir.

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.

The Eastern Daily Press have also reported and publicised this case

Prosecution of Builder

On 14 December 2021 at Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court, Mr Reece Lloyd of Great Yarmouth pleaded guilty to:

One offence of knowingly and recklessly engaging in an unfair commercial practice, namely a home improvements business, which contravened the requirements of professional diligence by:

  • Requiring money to be paid in advance for materials and services but failing to supply such materials and services
  • Failing to ensure that proper contract documentation and consumer legal rights to cancel the contract were provided
  • Failing to ensure the work was carried out with reasonable care and skill
  • Failing to ensure that works carried out were in accordance with structural requirements
  • Failing to provide refunds for monies paid

Mr Lloyd was a co-defendant to the prosecution. The second co-defendant Mr Muir had a request for adjournment made by his legal representative granted by the court and will appear on 11 January 2022 at Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court.

The circumstances of the case are that Mr Lloyd requested and received over £67,000 from the victim but failed to complete a two-storey extension his business,

Diamond Standard Renovations, was contracted to complete. The work which was undertaken was structurally unsound and valued at £5000 by a Chartered Surveyor.

The Magistrates determined the matter should be sent to the Crown Court on a date to be confirmed for a higher level of sentencing, and for Trading Standards to make an application for a confiscation investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Prosecution of fraudulent builder

On 1 December 2021 at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court, Mr Wesley Theobald, of Swaffham, pleaded guilty to:

  • Three offences of dishonestly failing to disclose information to consumers they were entitled to fourteen-day cooling off periods which he was under a legal duty to disclose, also that he failed to disclose to consumers he was an undischarged bankrupt, contrary to sections 1 and 3 of the Fraud Act 2006, and
  • One offence of dishonestly misrepresenting to a consumer that he would provide materials for property and roofing repairs and, following payment for the materials, did not attend to undertake the work, supply the materials or provide a refund, contrary to sections 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006

The circumstances of the case are that Mr Theobald pleaded guilty on 9 October 2020 as part of a previous prosecution for an offence contrary to s9 Fraud Act 2006. While awaiting sentence in the Crown Court Mr Theobald attended further customers and continued a similar trading model. Mr Theobald obtained monies for deposits and materials and then failed to return to the customers with the materials or undertake the works. Mr Theobald continues to be an undischarged bankrupt, a fact of which he failed to inform his customers, something that he is required to do
under the Insolvency Act 1986. This is particularly disappointing, showing a lack of remorse for the plea offered for the original matter in October 2020.

The further investigation identified another £3,000 of detriment to consumers with no materials supplied, no work undertaken, and no refunds made.

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. The court will also join the application for a confiscation investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to the original timetable set in February 2021.

Prosecution of fraudulent landscaper and fencer

On 28 July 2021 at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court, Mr Jamie Johnson, of Clenchwarton, pleaded guilty to the offence of fraudulent trading; contrary to Section 9 of the Fraud Act 2006.

The circumstances of the case are that Mr Johnson, a self-employed landscaper and fencer, contracted with a total of seventeen consumers (sixteen residing in Norfolk) between August 2018 and September 2020. The contracts were mainly to carry out fencing, paving and landscaping. The work, if any was carried out, was to a poor standard; occasionally Mr Johnson would obtain deposits for the work and never return to the site to carry out the work or provide materials with the funds he had been paid. He regularly failed to complete works that had been commenced, leaving the consumers to chase their funds, with him promising to make the appropriate refunds. 

Mr Johnson received a total of £26,505 from consumers and made no refunds.

On 1 November 2021 Mr Johnson was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court to 14 months imprisonment, immediate custody. 

The court also set the timetable for the completion of the confiscation investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 

Trading Standards seizure of illegal tobacco from convenience store in King’s Lynn

Two retail outlets in King’s Lynn were inspected today (28 October 2021) by Norfolk Trading Standards, Norfolk Police and tobacco detection dogs; in response to intelligence received. Approximately 21,000 cigarettes and 4kg of hand rolling tobacco were seized by Trading Standards. In one premises, the illegal tobacco products were found concealed in a void behind a fake fuse box.

This action is part of our ongoing efforts to tackle the supply of illegal tobacco* in Norfolk. The problem of illegal tobacco goes beyond the impact to the local economy through unfair competition and lost duty. Many of the retailers involved are selling to youngsters at low prices and putting their own profits ahead of the health of our young people. Some of these retailers are involved in organised criminal gangs and are connected to other crimes such as modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

*Illegal tobacco is a term used to describe a range of tobacco products, including:

  • Counterfeit versions of popular cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco brands
  • Products legitimately available in other countries smuggled into the UK (so no duty is paid, and the products are not marked with the appropriate English health warnings)
  • Products made exclusively for the illicit market

Prosecution of second-hand car dealer

On 8 September 2021 at Norwich Magistrates’ Court, Bryson Bowers of Newton Cars pleaded guilty to one offence under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 for the possession and offer of supply of a vehicle with identified dangerous faults.

Since first receiving complaints in 2018, Norfolk Trading Standards has provided Mr Bowers and Newton Cars with much advice and guidance on trading practices, including the need to ensure vehicles sold from the business are roadworthy.

On 8 October 2020 as part of an Operation to inspect second-hand car dealers in Norfolk, Trading Standards, together with a vehicle inspector, attended Newton Cars to inspect vehicles for sale. At that visit a Ford Focus vehicle was identified as being unroadworthy and dangerous with numerous issues including:

  • The vehicle catalytic converter was missing and had been bypassed with a piece of exhaust pipe permitting harmful exhaust fumes to exit the exhaust system without being cleaned
  • The lambda sensor that should be fitted to the exhaust manifold to monitor exhaust fumes was missing
  • Exhaust fumes which were leaking from the exhaust system would enter the cabin area of the vehicle when being driven
  • A rear metal brake pipe was excessively corroded at the flexible hose connection which could burst on vehicle braking and lead to loss of brake function
  • A badly corroded suspension spring which could suddenly break and fail and cause the vehicle to swerve while being driven
  • Heavy structural damage was still apparent along the full length of the left hand side panel and the right-hand sill had impact damage at the rear. Further impact damage was still visible on the front bumper
  • One front fog lamp was missing and the other was broken, reducing visibility in poor weather conditions
  • The rear number plate was delaminating making the number plate hard to read 

Although Mr Bowers was not present during the inspection, his son who was looking after the business that day agreed to voluntarily withdraw the vehicle from sale. However, the history of complaints, the significant advice to the business and the identification of a vehicle for sale advertised online and available to purchase on the business forecourt in such poor condition gave Trading Standards grave cause for concern.

The Magistrates determined Mr Bowers should be fined £700 with a victim surcharge of £70 and awarded full prosecution costs of £5,104.99 to Norfolk Trading Standards.

Sentencing of Double-Glazing Business

On 5 August 2021 at Norwich Crown Court, Justine Long of Swanton Morley was sentenced for offences in connection with her double-glazing business Beeston Windows. Long had previously admitted the offences at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court. 

The sentence was as follows:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 21 months, for fraudulent trading
  • 3 months’ imprisonment, concurrent, suspended for 21 months, for contravening professional diligence
  • 200 hours’ unpaid work

Claims for compensation and costs will be addressed through further proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Over a period of several months, from autumn 2019 to summer 2020, Long agreed to supply and install doors, windows and conservatories for local consumers. She required customers to make up-front payments between a third and half the contract price, but works were left unfinished, or in many cases not started at all. By August 2020, 7 consumers had lost a total of around £15,000 between them; one customer was eventually able to get a refund through her bank.

On her contracts, Long had used the logos of HomePro (which offers insurance-backed guarantees) and FENSA (which offers self-certification for building regulations), even though she was not a member of either scheme. It was alleged that Long’s course of conduct contravened professional diligence, contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, also that it amounted to fraudulent trading. Long pleaded guilty to both offences. 

If you require further information on this specific case, or the work of Trading Standards in general, please do not hesitate to contact 0344 800 8020.

Prosecution of Fraudulent Landscaper and Fencer

On 28 July 2021 at King's Lynn Magistrates' Court, Mr Jamie Johnson, of Clench Wharton, pleaded guilty to the offence of fraudulent trading; contrary to Section 9 of the Fraud Act 2006.

The circumstances of the case are that Mr Johnson, a self-employed landscaper and fencer, contracted with a total of seventeen consumers (sixteen residing in Norfolk) between August 2018 and September 2020. The contracts were mainly to carry out fencing, paving and landscaping. The work, if any was carried out, was to a poor standard; occasionally he would obtain deposits for the work and never return to the site to carry out the work or provide materials with the funds he had been paid. He regularly failed to complete works that had been commenced, leaving the consumers to chase their funds, with him promising to make the appropriate refunds.

Mr Johnson received a total of £26,505 from consumers and made no refunds.

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. The Court will also hear an application for a confiscation investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Prosecution of Double-Glazing Business

Under the terms of the Local Member Protocol, I am forwarding details of a recent Trading Standards prosecution, for your information.

On 30 June 2021 at King's Lynn Magistrates' Court, Justine Long of Swanton Morley admitted two offences in connection with her double-glazing business Beeston Windows.

Over a period of several months, from autumn 2019 to summer 2020, Long agreed to supply and install doors, windows and conservatories for local consumers. She required customers to make up-front payments between a third and half the contract price, but works were left unfinished, or in many cases not started at all. By August 2020, 7 consumers had lost a total of around £15,000 between them; one customer was eventually able to get a refund through her bank.

On her contracts, Long had used the logos of HomePro (which offers insurance-backed guarantees) and FENSA (which offers self-certification for building regulations) even though she was not a member of either scheme.

It was alleged that Long's course of conduct contravened professional diligence, contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, also that it amounted to fraudulent trading. Long pleaded guilty to both offences.

Long will be sentenced at a future date at the Crown Court, once pre-sentencing reports are complete. Trading Standards will also seek orders for compensation for victims or for confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Illegal tobacco seller sentenced after raid reveals carefully hidden stashes at Norfolk shop

A Norfolk man has been handed a 4 month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, at Norwich Crown Court today, Friday 4 June. This follows a successful investigation and prosecution carried out by Norfolk County Council Trading Standards.

Osman Hussein Abdullah Hassan, 36, of Limassol Road, Dereham was sentenced to 4 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £1000 towards costs, payable within 12 months, for the sale of illegal tobacco from a business he ran in Dereham.

In raids carried out in May and July 2019 the Norfolk County Council Trading Standards team seized 365 packs or pouches of illegal tobacco with a value of more than £5000. Pictures taken at the premises in Dereham clearly show the considerable efforts made to hide the illegal tobacco in both a secret cupboard in the wall of a storeroom, and in a specially constructed under counter compartment.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities, said: “I welcome today’s outcome as our trading standards team put together such a strong case the defendant had no option but to plead guilty. The illegal tobacco was carefully concealed in his premises and he continued to sell fake cigarettes and tobacco even after we had provided advice on a number of occasions and seized the illegal goods.

“This is part of our continuing work to crack down on criminals who sell illegal tobacco indiscriminately and prey on children as well as the adults in our communities. Illegal tobacco is not only a risk as people buying cheap cigarettes from illegal sellers cannot be sure of what they contain, but as fake cigarettes do not self-extinguish there is an increased danger of a fire.”

Mr Hassan ran the businesses Mini Mart, at 9A Market Place, Dereham and Great International Food Store, 144 King Street, Great Yarmouth. Both businesses were found in possession of tobacco products which were illegal to sell. The products were, variously, counterfeit, labelled in a language other than English, missing the required health warnings, or packaged other than in plain packaging.

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