A rogue trader from Bolton's been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to do unpaid community work over aggressive and misleading sales practices related to his paving business.
Howard Joseph Foster, who ran a Bolton paving business called Castle Court Paving, pleaded guilty to twelve criminal offences including aggressive and misleading trading practices. He was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment suspended for two years, plus 120 hours unpaid work and 10 days rehabilitation activity, plus compensation to victims of £850 and £350 in costs.The sentencing took place at Bolton Crown Court.
His victims were mainly elderly. The offences occurred during July and August of 2015 and were investigated by Bolton Council’s Trading Standards Service. Several elderly residents in the Skipton St area of Bolton had paid for driveways that had been re-laid by Mr Foster but investigations showed that he had started digging up some of the driveways before residents had actually agreed to the work. With others, he had misled them about payments required before the job would be completed. He also failed to give his name and address and failed to give information on cancellation rights, both things that he was legally required to do.
Seventeen charges were brought by Trading Standards more than a year ago. Mr Foster pleaded guilty to nine of them but not guilty to eight. At the initial trial, some charges were withdrawn as witnesses were no longer able to give evidence but other witnesses did appear and Mr Foster changed his plea to guilty. It has taken until now for sentencing to be carried out partly due to Mr Foster’s attempts to delay proceedings, including a last minute application to change his plea to not guilty.
The prosecution was brought by Bolton Council, and Councillor Peel, Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Services said: “Bolton Council’s Trading Standards service will always take action where the vulnerable are victimised. This should serve as a warning to any rogue trader who is thinking of targeting elderly residents. We’d like to thank the elderly victims who were prepared to come forward and give evidence, as without them, we may not have secured a conviction.”