A fraudster has been brought to justice, thanks to the efforts of Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards. His tactic of cold-calling at people’s houses, falsely claiming to be working on a neighbour’s property and then starting work without permission, has led to a prison sentence and a Criminal Behaviour Order.
Christopher Maughan, 33, formerly of Carousel Park, Micheldever, appeared for sentencing at Southampton Crown Court on 4 June 2018 and pled guilty to four offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at Southampton Crown Court.
Maughan had been cold-calling at the homes of Hampshire residents, falsely claiming he was working on a neighbour’s property. He would offer to clean the resident’s driveway or carry out a demonstration of the cleaning. When the residents refused, he would clean a prominent section of driveway without permission. This tactic was in order to persuade the residents to have the rest of their driveway cleaned.
Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “This is an extremely positive result for our Trading Standards Service and shows that through the use of our dedicated investigative skills and the help of the public, who report these crimes, we can ensure that people who engage in fraudulent activity are prosecuted.”
Following complaints from residents, and information from Hampshire Constabulary, Trading Standards Officers investigated the cold-caller, eventually bringing him to court. He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment for the fraud and aggressive commercial practices, and a further six months for breach of a previous suspended jail sentence. He was also made subject to a four year Criminal Behaviour Order, preventing him from cold calling, making false claims or carrying out any work without a homeowner’s written permission.
Trading Standards Advice
Trading Standards advises residents not to agree to any work based on a stranger calling at the door. Residents should obtain at least three written quotes from reputable businesses or traders who are members of the Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Buy With Confidence Scheme.
Members of the Buy With Confidence Scheme are fully audited to ensure their trading practices are legal, honest and fair. All members have been checked for trustworthiness and compliance with consumer protection laws. Details can be obtained by telephoning 01962 833620, or at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk
If you or a family member have been targeted by a fraudulent trader, you can call Trading Standards to report this activity on 03454 04 05 06. More information and advice is available at: www.hants.gov.uk/tradingstandards