Release date: 16 November 2018
A builder who took thousands of pounds for work he never completed has been sentenced to 50 hours community work following an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards.
Leigh Yorke, 50, was also ordered pay more than £10,000 in compensation to his victims at the hearing at Worthing Magistrates Court.
He came to the attention of Trading Standards after he promised three customers he would complete work to their properties but failed to do so.
The first victim paid Yorke £1,620 in cash to replace a front door and windows in 2016. He never carried out the work and avoided further contact with the customer.
Yorke’s second victim paid £9,600 for work that was never completed. They became suspicious after contacting the builder’s suppliers who said that no orders had been placed.
The third complaint came from a couple who paid Yorke £1,700 in cash to install double glazed doors and windows. He never completed this work and ignored all contact.
Yorke told his victims that he was suffering from throat cancer which is why he was unable to complete the work but was unable to provide medical evidence of this when interviewed by Trading Standards officers.
Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “Defrauding customers is a serious crime and this individual was only spared jail because of extenuating circumstances.
“If you are considering having work undertaken, we would recommend using a Trading Standards approved ‘Buy With Confidence’ trader.”
Debbie Kennard, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “Losing thousands of pounds is clearly a very distressing situation for customers and I am pleased to hear this individual is being made to pay back the full amount in compensation.
“This sends a clear message that defrauding customers is a crime that will not be tolerated.”
Find an approved trader at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk
To report a rogue trader contact Trading Standards online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport or via Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.