Suspended sentence for 'amateurish' Colne builder who admitted fraud

9:00pm Tuesday 23rd July 2013

By Peter Magill

A BUILDER who carried out ‘amateurish’ repairs to a retired police officer’s home - and tried to con another customer - has been given a suspended prison sentence.

County trading standards watchdogs were called in after a number of complaints concerning John Hargadon, who runs his own Colne-based building and paving business.

Ex-police officer Michael Hodgkinson even raised the alarm when he saw Hargadon had not put down a ‘tack coat’ before laying his new drive, South Ribble magistrates heard.

But when he was challenged, the builder claimed the ‘coat’ was already mixed in with bitumen before it was laid, the court was told.

Nick McNamara, prosecuting on behalf of Lancashire Trading Standards, said a surveyor later inspected the work and ‘condemned the work as amateurish and carried out to an appallingly poor standard’.

Much of the driveway was crumbling and lifting because of the failure to apply the tack coat.

Magistrates also heard that Hargadon ‘cold-called’ 62-year-old Peter Gray in Farrington Moss, Leyland.

The builder took him to two nearby homes in Mill Lane where he claimed to have relaid the driveways.

But Mr McNamara said he had nothing to do with at least one of the properties.

Later, Mr Gray agreed to pay out £4,200 for the driveway work, and repointing his house. The repointing money, around £1,100, was fully repaid.

Mr McNamara said Hargadon had also been working, around the same time, for 62-year-old Anne Maria Yewdall in Colne.

He left a card and, when Mrs Yewdall expressed an interest, he was said to have ‘kept going on about the job until she eventually agreed that he could do it’.

Once again, there were problems with the job and she is said to have had great difficulty in getting Hargadon to return to carry out remedial work.

Hargadon, 26, of Cross Skelton Street, Colne, admitted two offences each of fraud and engaging in unfair commercial practices, by failing to offer a ‘cooling-off’ period.

He was jailed for six months, suspended for 12 months, fined £600 and ordered to pay £750 court costs.

The builder had already paid out £2,250 in compensation before the court proceedings.

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