An East Lancashire man is serving 32 months in jail following action by Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards team.
John Hargadon, aged 54, of Collingwood Street, Colne, pleaded guilty to eight charges at a Crown Court hearing at Ashton Hall, Lancaster.
The rogue trader committed fraud, using scams such as taking money for work he never finished and telling lies to trick residents into having work done that wasn’t needed.
Lancashire Trading Standards experts used their enforcement powers to investigate claims against Hargadon and gather evidence for the prosecution.
His crimes affected 15 victims from across the county in Haslingden, Nelson, Clitheroe, Barrow near Whalley, Blackburn, Wilpshire, Hoghton, Adlington, Preston, Walmer Bridge, Hutton and Aughton.
He also scammed residents in West Yorkshire and Cheshire.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “This rogue trader preyed on vulnerable people, using lies and deceit to con them out of large amounts of money, sometimes running into thousands of pounds.
“This prosecution sends out a clear signal that we won’t tolerate rogue traders and scammers and we’ll do everything we can to stop them.
“If you’re looking for a trader to carry out work on your home, always do your research. Use recommended firms, such as those listed on our Lancashire Safe Trader website.”
One of the victims of this case, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I feel that the stress he caused affected me mentally, because I feel demoralised and ashamed that I allowed somebody to make me feel this way.
“My confidence has also suffered and I now feel far less confident when it comes to employing any workmen in the future because I feel like I may make the same mistake again.”
Dawn Robinson, principal trading standards officer, added: “Our team put in a lot of hard work to investigate this case and we’re pleased that justice has been done. Some of John Hargadon’s victims live in Cheshire and West Yorkshire and their local trading standards and police forces helped with our investigation.
“Rogue traders can cause mental anguish to their victims and families, some of whom lose vast amounts of their life savings for work that is poorly done or incomplete. We’re not afraid to use our enforcement powers to prosecute these conmen when we need to.
“If you have been the victim of a scam or rogue trader, please report it via the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline. This ensures that you get the advice you need and that the Trading Standards Service receives your valuable information, helping us to reduce the harm caused by rogue traders.”
To report a rogue trader, contact the Trading Standards Service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
The county council’s Lancashire Safe Trader scheme lists details of reputable traders in the area. For more information, visit www.safetrader.org.uk
For warnings about the latest scams effecting the county, visit our Scambuster Stan Facebook page www.facebook.com/StanleyDards