Persistent rogue trader jailed | HBC newsroom
Halton Borough Council’s Trading Standards Service has successfully prosecuted persistent rogue trader, Barry Benjamin.
At Liverpool Crown Court on 29 June, Benjamin, 53, from Kilncroft, Runcorn, was sentenced to two years in prison and also given a five year criminal behaviour order.
Benjamin, trading as Easylife Garden Maintenance, persistently carried out incomplete and poor quality gardening and handyman work within Halton and the surrounding area and has previously been prosecuted by Trading Standards.
Benjamin had previously pleaded guilty to multiple breaches of Consumer Protection legislation, but sentencing was delayed in order to consider a further case of fraud brought by Halton Trading Standards.
Benjamin had admitted to carrying out work at a consumer’s home, which was later assessed by an expert as been low quality and having no value. The work that had been carried out required re-working in its entirety.
At another victim’s property he provided no written contract or other paperwork, such as details of the rights to cancel the contract, and he subsequently took a sizeable deposit, but did not carry out any work.
Benjamin was also employed by another resident, when he was paid to carry out a variety of gardening work which was never completed. The work that he did complete was short of the customer’s expectations, in that a wall he built was around a metre short in length.
In the fraud case, Benjamin pleaded guilty to taking over £30,000 from a consumer to carry out work at a property, but an expert surveyor considered the true value of the work carried out to be around £4,000.
His Honour Judge Flewitt QC in his judgement noted that Benjamin had a history of offending since 2012. He stated that Benjamin had received a ‘warning shot’, due to his previous offending and he had been repeatedly warned about his responsibilities by the Council.
HHJ Flewitt stated that the majority of Benjamin’s victims are either elderly, vulnerable or recently bereaved. He also noted that Benjamin had continued to commit offences, even while he was in the process of being prosecuted for previous offending.
The Judge concluded there was a risk to the public as Benjamin preyed on unwary consumers, as he imposed a prison sentence to start immediately to “deter you and other people.”