A landscape contractor who carried out work to a poor standard and falsely claimed he was a member of two trade associations has been sentenced at Teesside Crown Court following a five day trial (Monday 7 August until Friday 11 August).
The Court heard how Paul Stuart Henry, also known as Stuart Holmes and who traded as Henry Constructions, quoted £6,700 to create a patio and lawn at a home in Norton.
After securing three quotes for the work from local contractors the resident had chosen Henry Constructions to do the work because they advertised membership of both the Federation of Master Builders and Marshall’s Register of Approved Contractors and Driveway Installers.
Although work progressed at first the homeowner was unhappy with the quality of Mr Henry’s work as the paving seemed discoloured after a sealant was incorrectly applied and drainage problems developed in the garden. Throughout the process the homeowner transferred £8469.97 into Mr Henry’s bank account in staged payments to pay for the work.
Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Trading Standards team arranged for an independent consultant to examine the work Mr Henry had done. The consultant believed large elements of the work were to ‘a poor and unsatisfactory manner’. After investigating, the Council’s Trading Standards team also learnt that Henry Constructions was falsely advertising itself as being a member of both trade associations.
On Friday (11 August) Mr Henry, aged 49, of Fairview Gardens, Stockton-on-Tees, was handed an 18 month custodial sentence suspended for 24 months, told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid community work and ordered to pay £2000 in costs to the Council and £2000 in compensation to the complainant after he was found guilty of three offences in total, two under the Fraud Act 2006 and one under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
In mitigation Mr Henry informed the court he accepted the verdict of the Jury.
Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety, said: “I am pleased the Council was able to secure a successful prosecution and welcome the sentence handed to Mr Henry.
“I hope this case will remind other traders that falsely claiming to be a member of a professional trade body or neglecting their professional and legal responsibilities could see them appearing before the court.
“Mr Henry led the resident to believe that his company was registered with both the Federation of Master Builders and Marshall’s Register of Approved Contractors and Driveway Installers. The resident put their faith in him and not only did he mislead them but he also failed to complete work to a high standard.”