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Prison sentence for Hereford rogue trader

At Worcester Crown Court yesterday (February 19) Tony Michael Small, 50, of Bert Evans Close, Hereford was sentenced to a term of 7½ months imprisonment for three unfair trading offences, in a case taken by Herefordshire Council’s trading standards service.

Last year Small, trading as Prompt Roofing, had cold called an 85-year-old local man and coerced him into agreeing driveway, patio and repointing repairs, while refusing to give the price of £2,400 for the job until the work was completed. The work was unnecessary and of an appalling standard, leaving the elderly homeowner with a cost in excess of a further £2,400 to have the poor work rectified.

Small also targeted a 75-year-old local woman and falsely stated her asbestos-based guttering needed replacing. Small failed to dispose of the asbestos legally.

Recorder Judge Crowther stated Small was “seeking easy prey” and “carefully selected elderly customers who were vulnerable to pressurised business techniques”. He said it was so serious as to merit an immediate term of custody.

Mike Pigrem, Herefordshire Council’s acting head of consumer and business protection, said after the hearing: “Tackling rogue traders who prey on the vulnerable is a priority for our trading standards team.

“This is one of many cases we are taking, with the valuable help of West Mercia police, to clamp down on these vile practices. This sentence today should act as a strong warning to other unscrupulous traders who may contemplate such practices.

“I would advise all consumers whether vulnerable or not to never deal with anyone who cold calls them at the door or indeed on the telephone. Virtually all rogue trading is operated in this way. If you need any property repairs then we advise consulting the council’s trader register at www.traderregister.org.uk/herefordshire