Rogue trader jailed after carrying out shoddy work at woman's house
A rogue tradesman who conned a woman into paying hundreds of pounds for shoddy and unnecessary work to her home and garden has been jailed.
Lawrence Crossling, 33, was also handed a Criminal Behaviour Order when he appeared before magistrates in Peterlee.
Crossling first approached the woman at her home in Horden in 2014, when he charged her for work to the roof and chimney at the property.
In May 2015, he offered to clear her front garden for £45 and also clear weeds, erect a fence and remove waste and an old garage from the rear garden for £500.
He then said he could lay wood chippings and treat the garden with weed killer and quoted £1,000 for the work.
During the course of carrying out the work, Crossling entered the kitchen at the house in order to use the water supply.
As he did so, some of the wood underneath the flooring broke.
He told the woman he would fix the problem for £1,000.
Crossling asked for £900 for the work but the woman refused to pay on the grounds that all Crossling had done was put down a small amount of wood.
However, he insisted the work had been carried out according to the specification and drove her to a cash machine in Peterlee to withdraw the cash.
In total, the woman paid Crossling £1,770 between May 28 and June 2, 2015.
When interviewed by trading standards officers from Durham County Council, Crossling described himself as a labourer who undertook home improvement works but stated that he did not have any qualifications.
He said he had carried out a significant amount of work at the property, including removing five van loads of rubbish, putting up a fence, pulling down a double garage, laying wood chips, unblocking drains, painting the kitchen and putting down floorboards.
In mitigation, it was stated that Crossling, who is primary carer for his children, had not targeted the woman but that she had contacted him.
In relation to charges under the Fraud Act 2006, it was claimed that the only issue was with the flooring.
For all of the other work, the issue was simply that it was not of good quality.
Crossling, of the Haven Gypsy and Travellers site, at South Bank, Middlesbrough, was found guilty of five offences under the Consumer Protection Act 2008 and the Fraud Act 2006.
He had already pleaded guilty to failing to surrender to bail.
He was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, ordered to pay the woman £1,770 in compensation and was given a Criminal Behaviour Order for three years.
The order bans Crossling from cold calling call at residential premises within the Durham County Council area for the purposes of selling goods or services, except by prior appointment with the controller or occupier.
It also bars him from engaging or inciting any third party to undertake those activities and from behaving in a manner, during the course of supplying goods or services, which causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “We are pleased with the outcome of this case and we hope it serves as a warning to others about agreeing to have work carried out by doorstep tradespeople.
“Legally, cold callers are required to give you cancellation rights and a cooling off period of 14 days in most situations for you to think about the contract and if necessary change your mind.
“If you are in any doubt just don’t do business on the doorstep.
“Don’t be rushed into agreeing to work and the best decision is usually to just say no.”