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Ross on Wye Rogue Trader sentenced for preying on elderly

At Worcester Crown Court on Friday, 22 March, Roy Martin Harris, 21, was sentenced to a community penalty of 250 hours unpaid work for rogue trader offences. In addition he was ordered to pay back £1280 in compensation to the victims.

In a case taken by Herefordshire Council’s trading standards service, Harris, until recently of Swan Court, Ross-on-Wye, had pleaded guilty to cold calling for property repairs and then failing to give four elderly residents their legal seven day cancellation rights. He also pleaded to falsely adding VAT to a bill.

Prosecuting barrister David Payne told the court the oldest of the victims was a 95 year old woman, all the work was of a very poor standard and Harris had demanded cash up front from each of the householders.  Defending, Mark Thomson said his client had genuine remorse for the difficulties he had caused the four ladies and he was a man of previous good character and the offending was attempt to provide for his family during hard times. He now had a permanent job in the removals trade.

Mike Pigrem, head of consumer and business protection at Herefordshire Council, said “This tough penalty for a cold caller with a previous clean record, shows how seriously the courts view rogue traders and the illegal practices they undertake.

“Herefordshire Council’s trading standards service will continue to prioritise its actions against such rogue traders in order to keep our communities and especially those who are vulnerable safe.

Herefordshire Council advises people not to deal with any cold callers either at the door or on the telephone. If you need property repairs then talk to your relatives first and consult the Council’s own list of reputable traders at www.traderregister.org/herefordshire