Suffolk/Norfolk: Rogue trader jailed for 18 months
- Credit: Archant
A rogue trader who charged overinflated prices for unnecessary and substandard work across East Anglia has been jailed for 18 months.
Arthur Draper, 29, persuaded elderly homeowners in Norfolk and Suffolk to have work done on their properties, and also benefitted from overcharged work carried out in Cambridgeshire.
In July 2011 Draper called at the home of a man in Mildenhall in Suffolk, offering to do work on his roof. The next day Draper and three other men arrived and the homeowner withdrew £500 cash to pay for the work. Draper then identified more work that needed doing and the price increased to £3600. The homeowner had concerns about the quality of the work but was fearful of what might happen if he complained.
A chartered surveyor later inspected the work and deemed that none of it had been completed properly and had no value whatsoever.
In August 2011 Draper approached a couple in Fakenham in Norfolk, asking if they needed any tiles replacing on their roof. They agreed he could replace the fascia and when work started Draper claimed more work needed doing on the roof. He offered to buy silverware from the couple to reduce the bill, which had grown to £3950. They felt the bill was excessive but agreed to pay.
No invoice or guarantee were provided, and when an invoice did arrive it listed work that hadn’t been completed. The couple were told by Draper they had been overcharged by £2000, but a cheque for the overpayment bounced.
Later in August 2011 Draper called at a house in Diss in Norfolk, using the name John Smith. He said his father had previously done work on the property and asked to repair that work as well as a dangerous chimney. As the work progressed more was found that Draper claimed needed doing, and he started taking money up front.
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After the work was finished the roof leaked and the occupants called Draper who said that another man would visit, but didn’t. They had to pay another tradesman to repair the leak, discovered that a product Draper claimed to use he in fact hadn’t, and never received a guarantee.
Draper also benefitted from work done at a property in Buckden in Cambridgeshire in July 2011, which a surveyor assessed as overpriced.
Draper, of Saddlebow Caravan Park in King’s Lynn, was arrested in March 2012 and following a joint investigation by Norfolk Police and Cambridgeshire Trading Standards and was charged with four counts of fraud and four counts of money laundering in March 2013. He later admitted these charges at court.
Today, Tuesday July 9 2013, Draper was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment at Norwich Crown Court.
Detective constable Colin Aris of Norfolk Police said: “Draper took advantage of elderly homeowners who felt they could not challenge his increasing prices and sadly suffered the consequences. He exploited their good nature by persuading them to have unnecessary work done which was of little or no value, and even caused damage which then needed repairing.”