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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.

This information is made available for a limited period in order to promote the openness, transparency and accountability of the criminal justice system to the people it serves.

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Sentencing of Fraudulent Builder

On the 21 June 2024, at Norwich Crown Court, Wesley Theobald of King's Lynn was sentenced by Recorder Herbert for a total of nineteen offences contrary to the Fraud Act 2006, the Theft Act 1968, and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, and for breaching his Criminal Behaviour Order.

Wesley Theobald was previously sentenced following two earlier Trading Standards prosecutions (in 2021 and 2022) resulting in a three-year custodial sentence. A Criminal Behaviour Order was also made against Mr Theobald with a view to preventing him undertaking the same type of offending, following his release from custody. Mr Theobald was released in April 2022 on licence, but he shortly commenced another course of offending while on licence, breaching his Criminal Behaviour Order and committing further offences.

Sentencing Mr Theobald to four years custody for each of 9 Fraud Act offences (a total of 36 years, to run concurrently), Mr Theobald was granted 25% reduction in his sentence for an early guilty plea. Mr Theobald was also sentenced to a total of a further 16.5 years custody for the other 10 offences (also to run concurrently). His total concurrent sentence will therefore be three years. The Criminal Behaviour Order, with no end date specified, remains in place.

Recorder Herbert in his summing up, said Theobald had caused misery by his conduct in the short period he had been released on licence and his actions were aggravated by his breaches of the Criminal Behaviour Order. He had commenced his offending only three months after his release. Theobald's offending was persistent and included elderly and vulnerable victims, one a recent widow. Theobald had invaded victims' properties and advised work was needed to their roofs. He had taken substantial monies but not undertaken any work. Theobald had left the victims' properties in an almost uninhabitable condition causing greater loss to repair the damage caused by him.

A new Proceeds of Crime timetable was set to accommodate the new victim losses.

Trading Standards Prosecution 

On 5 June 2024, at King's Lynn Magistrates' Court, Saxawan Faith Suleman, of Peterborough, pleaded guilty to one offence of selling a nicotine inhaling product (vape) to a person under 18.

On 11 August 2023, at Flavour of Eastern Europe, on High Street, King's Lynn, a 17- year-old volunteer was sold a vape by an assistant in the shop. The volunteer was not asked their age.

Mr Suleman, as the shop owner, was responsible for the sale, even though he was not on the premises at the time. He provided no evidence of having systems in place, such as asking the age of young customers, asking from proof of age before making a sale, and keeping a record of refused sales.

Mr Suleman told the court that he was no longer involved in running the business or any similar business.

Mr Suleman was fined £600 and ordered to pay £816 towards Trading Standards' costs, plus a victim surcharge of £240

Prosecution of Maintenance Tradesman

On 29 May 2024 at Norwich Crown Court, John Taylor, of Elizabeth Crescent, Holt, was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment, concurrently on each of two charges of theft.

In November 2021, Mr Taylor had agreed to carry out a range of building and maintenance works on a King's Lynn couple's home. The couple, being of retirement age and having recently moved to the area, had been finding it difficult to identify contractors who were available to do the works, so Mr Taylor's offer had seemed attractive.

However, after the couple paid Mr Taylor over £34,000, it soon became clear that the standard of the works was not satisfactory. In fact, apart from the demolition of a concrete/asbestos garage, an expert surveyor assessed the work as having had no value whatsoever, instead giving rise to the need for significant remedial works. Furthermore, even though the garage was demolished and partly removed from site, asbestos roof panels were instead buried in the couple's garden.

Mr Taylor also approached the couple for what he described as a loan, for just under £8000, to help him buy a new van for his business. He never repaid the loan and subsequently told Trading Standards that this money was a gift to him.

In sentencing Mr Taylor, His Honour Judge Bate noted that Mr Taylor had several previous convictions for offences involving dishonesty. Although his conduct in respect of the King's Lynn couple had not initially been dishonest, it very quickly became dishonest as he continued taking payments when it was obvious that he was going to be unable to fulfil his part of the contract.

It was noted that at one point Mr Taylor excused himself from working for the couple by claiming he had Covid-19, and he sent them a photo of what he claimed to be his positive Covid test. However, Trading Standards established that he had in fact used a photograph of a Covid test which he had found on the internet.

HHJ Bate described this as a 'particularly mean lie'. HHJ Bate noted that the couple had both made Victim Personal Statements, which were read out in Court, and which demonstrated their profound dismay and discomfort, as well as consequential financial losses, arising from Mr Taylor's conduct.

As the sentence was less than 2 years, the court had the option to impose a suspended sentence instead. However, HHJ Bate took the view that appropriate punishment could be achieved only by immediate custody.

In addition, a Criminal Behaviour Order was made against Mr Taylor, prohibiting him from taking up-front payment for building works at any time in the next 5 years. He was also prohibited from asking customers for any form of financial contribution to the repair or replacement of a vehicle.

Proceedings have been commenced against Mr Taylor, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, with a view to attempting to recover compensation for the victims and investigation and legal costs for Trading Standards.

Prosecution for supplying illegal tobacco/vapes

On 17 April 2024 at Norwich Magistrates' Court, Mr Mohammed Sabir Kawa, director of Bury Newsagent Ltd, Aylsham Road, Norwich, pleaded guilty to:

  • One offence for the sale of a vape to an underage person, contrary to the Children and Families Act 2014
  • One offence for the supply of counterfeit tobacco products, contrary to the Trade Marks Act 1994
  • One offence for the supply of illegal tobacco products which did not contain the combined health warning containing a picture and text in English, contrary to the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016
  • Two offences for the supply of illegal tobacco products which were not displayed in the correct drab green packaging, contrary to the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products 2015

The Chair of the Bench advised they had listened to the prosecution and considered the mitigation offered on behalf of Mr Kawa. The Chair agreed there was deliberate deception in this case, which was planned, and the bench decided that Mr Kawa should receive the following penalties:

  • A fine of £2334.50
  • A victim surcharge of £933

Costs of £3646.67 were awarded to Trading Standards, along with an order for the forfeiture and destruction of the seized illegal tobacco products.

The circumstances of the case were aggravated by the lengthy period of offending during which there has been numerous attempts/continuous advice provided by Trading Standards (since 2017). The products involved were also damaging to public health, with particular concerns about the impact on young people.

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 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.

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