Conman fined £1,500 for taking payment from elderly man in Ketton

A conman has been fined £1,500 for taking payment from an elderly man for repair work on his house that was not needed.

Charles Johnson, of Justin Park Caravan Site, Market Harborough, visited a 69-year-old man’s home in Ketton in September and told him that work needed to be done on his chimney.

Johnson agreed a price of £2,500 to do the work and immediately took the man to his bank to draw out a £500 deposit.

The man contacted Peterborough City Council’s Trading Standards because he was concerned that he would be forced to hand over more money

Trading Standards arranged for a local surveyor to inspect the property, who confirmed that no work needed doing at all.

When Johnson and his team of workmen returned to collect the rest of the money and start the work they were met by Trading Standards and police who arrested the team of rogue builders.

At a hearing at Leicester City Magistrates’ Court on December 7, Johnson pleaded guilty to misleading a consumer about work that needed to be done on their home, and failing to give cancellation rights.

He was sentenced to repay £500 to the man that he had conned, fined £500 and ordered to pay £500 prosecution costs.

On Thursday Insp Kam Mistry, commander of Rutland local policing unit, said: “This was a potentially nasty crime involving a vulnerable member of the community.

“Fortunately he had the presence of mind to seek help, which meant we and our trading standards colleagues were waiting for the conman when he returned to the house.

“I would urge anyone to be wary of anyone calling at your home to offer services, particularly ones you are not aware that you need.

“Where possible, ask friends and neighbours to recommend trades people they trust, or use traders who are members of recognised trade associations.

“And ensure that you have a name and address that you can get back to if the work proves unsatisfactory, not just a mobile phone number.”

Councillor Peter Hiller (Con) is the cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and planning for Peterborough City Council.

He added: “I hope that this sentence, and the amount Mr Johnson was charged, serves as a deterrent to others that rogue trading will not be tolerated.”