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Trader guilty of overcharging for house repairs

A Bournemouth man has been found guilty of defrauding a 64-year-old local woman of several thousand pounds following a four day trial at Bournemouth Crown Court.

Derek Montague, aged 41, of 26 Churchill Road, Poole was found guilty on 24 October 2014 of four counts of fraud and two additional charges in relation to the consumer protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, following a successful prosecution by Borough of Poole Trading Standards.

The offences related to gardening and external works carried out by Mr Montague to the victim’s home over a period of seven months. The court heard that Mr Montague charged approximately £41,000 for work undertaken including erecting two trellises, boarding and insulating the loft space as well as pointing to outside walls. He also failed to provide a written guarantee for the work undertaken.

Mr Montague was also found guilty of an 'aggressive practice' when he pressurised the victim to pay the additional £1,200 for removal of the garden shed and then accompanied her to the cashpoint to withdraw the money.

James Norman, Regulatory Team Manager, Borough of Poole Trading Standards said: “This is a clear case of a trader willing to exploit the trust of a customer over a long period of time for his own profit. As consumers we need to have complete trust in traders who are carrying out work on our homes. Trading Standards will use every means possible to bring to justice those traders who mislead or exploit their customers.”

The case has been adjourned for sentencing.