22 Sep 2015

Community Safety and Licensing

Rogue Trader convicted of fraud

A rogue builder from Bristol has been found guilty of fraud following an investigation by Bristol City Council’s Trading Standards Service.

Robert Bees, trading as R&D Builders, pleaded guilty to two fraud charges and four charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

Complaints were received by the Trading Standards Service from victims, following work carried out on their properties in early 2014.

Mr Bees contacted one of the victims when he was working on her neighbour’s roof. He sought her out, and told her that the roof was in a poor state.

Once the work had been started, it was not long before other “problems” were discovered, and the work required escalated.

At Bristol Magistrates Court it was found that the work Bees carried out was to a poor standard with most, if not all of it, deemed unnecessary.

Bees also failed to provide cancellation rights, took money up front and did not finish the work.  An expert surveyor described what little work had been done as being of a poor standard.

Bees was sentenced to a 12 month community order which includes 100 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,338.70 and a victim surcharge of £60. He was also ordered to pay compensation to his victims totally £2,550. 

Councillor Daniella Radice, Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods, said: “When members of the public employ professional builders, any prices charged should be fair and reasonable and they should be able to expect the work to be completed and carried out to a professional standard. This was certainly not the case on this occasion.

“I would encourage anyone who has any doubts about work being carried out on their property to contact Citizens Advice and get some professional guidance.”

Sarah Davey, team leader for Bristol City Council Trading Standards Service, said:  “We welcome this result. Rogue builders who damage the reputation of genuine traders and prey on the vulnerable by overcharging and carrying out substandard work, will not be tolerated and will be brought before the courts.”

If any Bristol resident has experienced problems of this nature or has concerns about the trading practices of a particular trader, they are encouraged to contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506, so that the matter can be investigated.