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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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.
Man pleads guilty for suffering caused to foal in heart-breaking horse welfare case
A man has today, Wednesday 12 May, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a foal at a trial at King’s Lynn magistrates court.
The court heard today how the defendant Mr Oliver Jones, 31, formerly of Leys Lane, Attleborough, and currently of Somerville, Peterborough, severely neglected a foal. A vet who examined the emaciated horse found it was suffering multiple health issues caused by the neglect.
Mr Jones was sentenced to 10 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months, and has been banned from keeping horses for 20 years.
Sophie Leney, Head of Norfolk County Council Trading Standards said “This is a satisfactory outcome of a very sad case. It’s very welcome that Mr Oliver Jones will be disqualified from owning or keeping animals following the neglect and suffering he caused. In this extreme case there was no choice but to seize the animal immediately and take him to a place of safety. We would like to thank World Horse Welfare for their invaluable assistance in this matter”.
World Horse Welfare contacted the Norfolk County Council Trading Standards team on 29 July 2019. Due to the nature of the concerns, council officers, alongside World Horse Welfare, visited a site near Attleborough on 30 July 2019.
Officers found a mare and foal in a small paddock containing 13 horses. There was no grass, the area was full of muck, and had rubbish lying around. A vet who examined the pair at the scene was so concerned they were immediately taken away for emergency treatment.
A thorough inspection identified multiple health issues caused by a failure to seek veterinary advice on nutrition, worming, basic care, and for the malformation of the foal’s legs. Sadly, the mother of the foal had been severely affected by the neglect causing a chronic heart defect which later led to her sudden death. Happily, the foal, now named Hercules, has recovered well in the care of World Horse Welfare.
Jacko Jackson of World Horse Welfare said: "Although this is great result, and Oliver Jones finally pleaded guilty, it has been a frustrating two years to get to this point. For the first two years of his life, as part of an on-going prosecution, World Horse Welfare were only allowed to offer maintenance care to little Hercules once he had been recovered to a healthy weight. Now that the case is over, he can be gelded and his education can begin, with the aim for him to be offered for rehoming in the future, where he can lead the life he deserves."
If you find a welfare issue on a farm report it to our partners Citizens Advice immediately on 03454 040 506.
Today's judgement also saw Norfolk County Council Trading Standards granted a deprivation order giving the service the ownership of the foal – which will hopefully now be rehomed by World Horse Welfare.
In addition to the guilty verdict the court also disqualified Mr Jones from owning animals, keeping animals, participating in the keeping of animals, being party to an arrangement under which he is entitled to control or influence the way in which animals are kept, dealing in animals, transporting animals and arranging for the transport of animals. The order is in respect of all equines for 20 years.
The Court awarded the county council £5,000 in costs (which must be paid within 2 years). Mr Jones was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £122.
Sentencing of fraudulent builder
A judge has today (Thursday 25 February) handed a sentence of three years in prison to Mr Wesley Theobald at the Crown Court in King’s Lynn.
As part of his summing up the Judge, Mr Recorder Sells QC, said:
"Mr Theobald, you undertook a course of conduct which was thoroughly dishonest, over a long period. You pretended to do building work, exaggerated the work required, and the work you did do was defective. You used false names and produced false papers and extracted nearly £30,000 from people who were effectively at your mercy. This had a serious effect on the victims, some elderly and retired, some younger. Your conduct can only be described as despicable".
The Judge went on to praise the Trading Standards Service for bringing the prosecution. He said, "these investigations are incredibly difficult and complex and I would like to commend the investigating officer in this case".
Confiscation proceedings, under proceeds of crime legislation, will follow and will include consideration of compensation for victims, as well as for the costs of the investigation.
If you require further information on this specific case, or the work of Trading Standards in general, please do not hesitate to contact Sophie Leney, Head of Trading Standards.
Animal welfare prosecution
On 10 November 2020 at Norwich Magistrates’ Court Ms Julie Nott pleaded guilty to a charge under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 of causing unnecessary suffering to a grey horse between 3 February 2020 and 18 March 2020, by her failure to follow veterinary advice given on 3 February 2020, following diagnosis by the vet that the horse was emaciated. This included the failure to supply faecal samples to enable the vet to complete diagnostic tests for his investigation into health issues which were causing the unnecessary suffering. Ms Nott also failed to engage with the vet
when further visits were required to the animal.
On 18 March 2020 Trading Standards executed a Warrant granted by Magistrates at Norwich and seized the animal to a place of safety. The Magistrates determined Ms Nott should pay a fine of £120, with an additional victim surcharge of £32. Costs were awarded to Trading Standards in the sum of £200.
A deprivation order was granted in favour of Trading Standards for ownership of the horse. The Magistrates also determined Ms Nott should receive a Disqualification Order for a period of five years, which prevents Ms Nott from owning, keeping or participating in the keeping, or being a party to an arrangement where she may participate in the keeping of equines. It also prevents her from dealing, transporting or arranging transport for equines.
At the same hearing Mr Oliver Jones confirmed his plea of not guilty to five allegations of causing unnecessary suffering to two equines under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at the same premises. Mr Jones also confirmed his guilty plea of ownership of a black mare without an identifiable passport in breach of the Equine Identification Regulations which requires all equines to have a passport of
A trial for the five allegations has been arranged for 12-15 April 2021 at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court, along with sentencing for the breach of Equine Identification Regulations.
Confiscation investigation under Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
On 9 November 2020 His Honour Judge Bate granted confiscation orders against Scott Wolfe and Katie Hope, previously of Unthank Road, Norwich. Both had pleaded guilty on 25 February 2019 to multiple offences including forgery, fraudulent trading and money laundering and were later sentenced to terms of imprisonment of 4 years and 2 years respectively.
- Benefit from criminal conduct - £239,391.11
- Available amount - £4,000.00
- Confiscation order in the sum of £4,000.00 with three months to pay and four months imprisonment in default of payment
- Benefit from criminal conduct - £28,420.63
- Available amount - £800.00
- Confiscation order in the sum of £800.00 with three months to pay and twenty eight days imprisonment in default of payment
Sentencing for seller of illegal tobacco
On 4 November 2020, at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ court Mr Jamshid Ali pleaded guilty to the following offences:
(i) Nine offences of supplying tobacco products in packaging which did not contain a combined health warning in English; as required by the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.
(ii) Six offences of supplying tobacco products in packaging which was not correct for legal supply in England in that it was not in the permitted colour and shade of packaging, as required by the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015
At the hearing, the Bench:
- Determined Mr Ali should serve 300 hours unpaid community work within the next twelve months
- Set a victim surcharge of £80
The Bench also granted Trading Standards £1000 towards their costs and granted a Deprivation Order in favour of Trading Standards for the vehicles seized from Mr Ali, being a Mercedes Van and a Jaguar car. Forfeiture and destruction of the seized tobacco products was also granted.
This prosecution followed the receipt of complaints since 2016 that illegal tobacco products were being supplied and sold from three stores in King’s Lynn. Following a joint inspection undertaken with Norfolk Constabulary on 28 June 2018, a large quantity of illegal tobacco products was seized from a Jaguar Car belonging to Mr Ali and a Mercedes Van and rooms above an address in Norfolk Street, both of which Mr Ali had access to. The tobacco products seized included 46,490 packets of cigarettes and 1261 x 50g pouches of hand rolling tobacco (the weight of this hand rolling tobacco is approximately 9 stone 9 lbs). The equivalent legitimate value of all the tobacco seized would amount to £620,568.00.
This investigation forms part of a suite of illegal tobacco investigations undertaken by this Service to counteract the sale of such goods and ensure the health of consumers (especially the young who may be tempted to try cheap cigarettes) is not compromised.
On Tuesday 4 August 2020, at Norwich Crown Court, Judge Bacon sentenced David Mark Fysh, 42, previously of Highgate, King’s Lynn and Main Road, West Winch, to a 9 months custody suspended for 24 months.
A compensation order of £15,636 was ordered to be paid to the victims as follows: £2,168 in 7 days and £500 monthly thereafter. A failure to pay as ordered will result in Mr Fysh being considered in breach of his suspended sentence. The Judge awarded full costs of £19,235 to Trading Standards. Mr Fysh was also fined £100 for breaching a previous suspended sentence and charged a victim surcharge of £122.
Victim Impact Statements were read out in court on behalf of the victims.
David Mark Fysh, 42, of Highgate, King’s Lynn was convicted at trial in November 2019, following a successful prosecution brought by Trading Standards of an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The details of the case are that Mr Fysh charged a Norfolk homeowner more than £20,000 for a building extension. He did not buy the materials for which he had received monies from the victims, he did not complete the work and failed to refund the victims any monies paid to him for the works.
The court heard a building surveyor estimated the value of the work Mr Fysh actually did at £5,000. The unfinished work had progressed slowly over a number of months; however the surveyor estimated the work carried out should only have taken about 5 days.
The way this trader operated fell far short of expectations and today’s sentence reflects that. David Fysh charged for work he did not do and for materials he did not buy and refused to give any refunds. This was not only completely unacceptable under consumer protection law, but also very distressing for his victims.
Our advice for consumers is to always use a Norfolk Trusted Trader or a trader who has been personally recommended by friends or family who have had similar work done. Norfolk Trusted Traders can be found in the directory by visiting www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader
If consumers are concerned about rogue builder activity, they can contact Trading Standards through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.