Rogue trader charged £2,000 for shoddy and unfinished home improvements at vulnerable woman’s house

The case was heard at Peterlee Magistrates Court.
The case was heard at Peterlee Magistrates Court.

A rogue trader carried out shoddy home improvements for a vulnerable woman who gave him £2,000 in payment, a court heard.

Lawrence Crossling, 33, initially did work to the roof and chimney of the Horden resident’s house in 2014.

But he visited her again in 2015 and she agreed to let him do work on her front and back gardens as well as floors inside her three-bedroomed home.

A trial at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard the victim, who suffers from anxiety and high blood pressure, said in interview that she was continually asked by Crossling for more money as he began work in May last year after he told her that floorboards would have to be replaced because dry rot had set in.

The woman’s suspicion was aroused when Crossling drove her to a bank so that she could withdraw money to pay him before he could fully complete the work.

After being arrested, Crossling argued he had only ever been paid £800 despite her claims that she had handed over in excess of £2,000.

He was later charged with two counts of recklessly engaging in commercial practice, one count of engaging in a commercial practice which was a misleading action, one count of engaging in commercial practice which was aggressive and one count of fraud.

Chartered building surveyor Steven Chapel told the court that on inspecting the property that the improvements to the rear garden undertaken by Crossling were “not fit for purpose”.

“The workmanship was not up to standard,” said Mr Chapel.

Crossling, of Ashbrooke Estate, Shotton Colliery, formerly of Winterbottom Avenue, Hartlepool, was found guilty in absence of all five charges despite pleading not guilty to them.

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Gary Walker said: “We are satisfied that the work was not up to standard and the materials were not fit for purpose.

“We feel that Mr Crossling misled the injured party that the extra work was necessary.”

The bench issued a warrant for Crossling’s arrest.