Sidmouth builder jailed for fraud
PUBLISHED: 13:14 26 April 2019
A builder from Sidmouth has been jailed for more than two years after pleading guilty to fraudulent trading.
James Rowe appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday, April 23.
He made nearly £1 million profit installing conservatories across Bristol.
Mr Rowe initially pleaded not guilty before changing his plea on the first day of trial.
Bristol City Council's Trading Standards conducted an investigation into Mr Rowe over three years and worked with his victims to build the case against him.
Some were left thousands of pounds out of pocket after he started work on their properties but never finished installing their conservatories.
The victims gave evidence that they experienced long delays, errors and additional costs after they employed Mr Rowe.
In most cases, work had been paid for in full prior to completion and when victims attempted to contact Mr Rowe, he either ignored them or gave excuses as to why he couldn't complete the work.
Before sentencing, Mr Rowe made payments to his victims to compensate them for the loss they had suffered. However Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings are ongoing.
Councillor Steve Pearce, cabinet member with responsibility for regulatory services said: “The victims in this case were all left thousands of pounds out of pocket. The conviction and sentencing of Mr Rowe reiterate our ongoing commitment to bringing fraudulent traders to justice.
“Rogue traders and bogus callers can be extremely convincing when they talk to potential victims and almost anyone can be taken in by their convincing line of approach. Doorstep crime can affect anyone within our local communities and we would urge householders to be extra vigilant. Our advice is plain and simple- do not deal with doorstep traders and politely say no.”