A rogue builder who thought he had slipped the net was finally brought to justice and ordered to pay a total of £6,573 in compensation and costs after misleading a customer.
James Christopher Gray of Brentwood Essex pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and was sentenced at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on 2 May 2019.
In 2016, he took thousands of pounds from his customer, claiming to need the money to buy a shed and slabs for work he was completing in that customer’s garden. The items never materialised and following a complaint and investigation by Enfield Council Trading Officers, he was summoned to a court hearing in 2017 – to which he never showed up. He then seemed to disappear.
Nearly two years later, Gray was arrested on 1 May 2019 on an unrelated matter and officers discovered there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. After spending one night in a police cell, he faced the District Judge to answer to the charges related to his actions in 2016. He was ordered to pay £2,493.26 in costs and compensation of £4,080.
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Licensing & Regulatory Services, Cllr George Savva, said: “You really can’t escape your past. Enfield Council’s Trading Standards Officers and Legal Team will make sure residents get the justice they deserve – even if it means a lengthy wait.
“I would urge anyone looking for a tradesperson to do as much research as possible to make sure you are purchasing a reputable and reliable service before handing over any money.”
For more information on Trading Standards, see our dedicated webpage. If you have concerns about rogue traders, speak to Citizens Advice Consumer Service.