News & Prosecutions

Check out the news on everything from disease outbreaks to our latest prosecutions below. News on prosecutions is made available for a limited period in order to promote the openness, transparency and accountability of the criminal justice system to the people it serves. This information is made available solely on the basis that it is for the individual use of the person who has accessed this page. The information on this page must not be stored, recorded, republished, or otherwise processed without the explicit agreement of Devon & Somerset Trading Standards.

Victims of rogue car dealers to get over £11,000 compensation

11 October 2017

Victims of rogue car dealers John Hussey and Adam Wallis, of DX Motors Ltd, Bideford, will receive more than £11,000 in compensation.

An Exeter Crown Court Judge ordered Hussey, 50, previously of Bideford but now living in Ireland, to pay £25,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, with £8,580 to go to their victims.

Wallis, previously from Bideford, was ordered to pay £3,150, with £2,665 to go to their victims.

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service investigated the car dealers following complaints about the condition of second-hand vehicles sold to the public.

If you are thinking of buying a used car read our online guidance.

DX Motors Ltd was run by Hussey and Wallis. In June 2016 the two pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to offences relating to unsafe, unroadworthy and ‘misdescribed’ vehicles sold from their site on Clovelly Road Industrial Estate, Bideford.

The court heard that one vehicle, a VW Golf sold by Wallis, was in such a dangerous condition that the day after purchase the front passenger wheel fell off as the new owner was driving though Bideford.

A BMW 325i, brought by a young mother who had saved up for two years, was sold with the rear metal brake pipe hanging loosely under the rear of the vehicle. There was also so much wear in the rear suspension bushings the car was at risk of unpredictable handling, particularly when braking.

Another vehicle, a BMW 316, which both Hussey and Wallis admitted supplying, was sold with both front brake hoses in such a bad condition the brakes could have failed at any time.

An independent motor vehicle engineer examined some of the cars and found that three were dangerous and unroadworthy.

One vehicle had been supplied with incomplete road springs, a defective hand brake and front brake hoses that had deteriorated to a dangerous condition.

Hussey had previously pleaded guilty in February 2013 at Barnstaple Magistrates’ Court for supplying an unroadworthy car.

He was sentenced in July 2016 to four months in custody, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours unpaid community work and Wallis was sentenced to 150 hours unpaid community work. And this week the two were ordered to pay cash back to their victims.

Stephen Gardiner, Interventions Manager at Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service, said:

“This is an excellent result and demonstrates that rogue trading will not be tolerated in our area.  The purpose of the Proceeds of Crime Act is to take the profit out of crime and this is a good example of how the Act can be used. All the victims of the crimes will now receive compensation and some of the rest can be put back into fighting crime.   

“Traders like Hussey and Wallis tarnish the image of the motor trade. Purchasers who are looking for reputable traders in our area can use our Buy With Confidence Scheme. This will ensure you find someone who we have vetted and approved.”

You can search for a list of tradespeople, vetted by Trading Standards, on the Buy With Confidence website.

Businesses who become members of the scheme commit to operate their company in a legal, honest and fair way.

Anyone with concerns, or who would like advice about their rights, should telephone the Citizens Advice Consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or visit their website.

Residents urged to guard against scams as cash recouped from rogue plumber

Victims of jailed rogue plumber Gary Henry will receive more than £16,000 of his ill-gotten gains.

An Exeter Crown Court judge ordered Henry, 56, who has served seven months of a two-year prison for fraud, to pay £90,000 with £16,263  to his victims under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service (DSTTSS) investigated Henry after complaints that his work was shoddy and vastly overpriced.

If you are concerned that you might be the victim of a rogue trader, know someone who might be or want some advice on how to recognise a scam call the Citizen’s Advice helpline on 03454 040506.

You can also visit our Scams, Rogue Traders and Doorstep Crime pages.

If you are considering having work done on your property you can search for a list of tradespeople vetted by Trading Standards on the Buy With Confidence website

Businesses who become members of the scheme commit to operate their company in a legal, honest and fair way.

On one occasion Henry, who traded as Barnstaple Plumbing and Heating and Gary Henry Ltd, charged an elderly couple, both recovering from illnesses, £3,860 for a boiler he bought for £1,699 and £870 for a flue pipe costing £87. The couple were also charged for work that was not done.

Henry, from Instow, North Devon, also overcharged another customer for a faulty oil-fired system which could have put the victim’s life in danger.

Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Services’ Interventions Manager Steve Gardiner said:

“The use of Proceeds of Crime legislation will enable recompense to be paid to those victims we have identified, and also means that money Mr Henry has made from his crimes can be confiscated by the treasury.

“These cases are thankfully fairly rare, but to avoid dishonest plumbers, people could use the Buy with Confidence scheme to find a trader so that they know the traders will be Trading Standards Approved.”

Anyone with concerns, or who would like advice about their rights, should telephone the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or visit their website.

If you can answer yes to any of these questions then there is a good chance that someone is trying to scam you:

  • Was the offer unsolicited?
  • Do I have to respond straight away?
  • Do I have to make a purchase to win a prize?
  • Do I have to ring a premium-rate number?
  • Do I have to give my bank or credit card details?
  • Is the business reluctant to give their address or contact details?
  • Am I being asked to keep it confidential?
  • Does it look too good to be true?

Pioneering project underway to support “healthy ageing”

A ground-breaking project is underway to generate innovation and growth to support “healthy ageing”.

The ‘Innovation in Healthy Ageing Project’ will support private and voluntary organisations in the medical technology and health care sectors to fund the development of new products and services which could transform how people are cared for. Read the full story on the Devon News Centre.

Businesses advised to be on their guard for tool sharpening scam

Itinerant traders offering tool sharpening services may be headed back to Devon, Somerset and Torbay. Read the full story here.

Guidance for traders on pricing practices

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has published new guidance designed to provide traders with helpful advice about pricing practices. You can read it here (link takes you to the CTSI-managed website www.businesscompanion.info).

 

 

 

Online trader sentenced for selling counterfeit goods

A Taunton woman who profited from selling thousands of counterfeit mobile phone cases on eBay faces a jail sentence if she fails to pay back £20,000.

Gemma Grainger-Peach, 42, of Churchill Way, Taunton, pleaded guilty to selling more than 5,000 counterfeit Cath Kidston phone cases at Taunton Crown Court on Monday (30 January).

Read the full story here.

Rogue Traders Jailed for Conning the Vulnerable

Two rogue traders  were jailed for two years at Exeter Crown Court on Friday 17 June, after conning 17 elderly and vulnerable Devon residents out of £70,000.

Following a prosecution brought by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards, both Bryan Ferren, 38 and Kevin Hogg, 41, of Clifton Court, Clifton Road, Paignton, had pleaded guilty to five offences under the Fraud Act 2006.

Read the full story here

Two used car dealers plead guilty to supplying dangerous vehicles

At Exeter Crown Court on Monday 13 June, Paul Fitzgerald John Hussey, 49, and Adam George Wallis, 27, pleaded guilty to a number of offences in relation to sales of vehicles. 

The used car dealers operating out of Bideford have pleaded guilty to supplying dangerous and unroadworthy vehicles and false advertising, in a prosecution brought by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service.  The court heard that one vehicle, a VW Golf sold by Wallis, was in such a dangerous condition that the day after purchase the front passenger wheel fell off as the new owner was driving though Bideford.

Read the full story here

Dawlish plumber pleads guilty to fraud

On 22 April 2016 at Exeter Crown Court, Michael Hall of Dawlish, Devon, plead guilty to 6 offences under the Fraud Act.

Previously found guilty of falsely claiming to be Gas Safe registered in 2010, Mr Hall was found to have knowingly failed to provide cancellation rights to customers when forming contracts in their homes, in some cases starting the work before the customer had properly agreed to it. In addition the court heard that some of the work carried out by Hall had to be rectified by subsequent contractors.

Hall was given a conditional discharge for 1 year, and ordered to pay costs of £500

For more information, read the full story here

Couple Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty

On 13th April at Exeter Magistrates Court Anthony and Bridget Barrell of Chittlehampton plead guilty to 4 counts of unnecessary suffering in relation to sheep kept in North Devon. A custodial sentence of 11 weeks, suspended for 12 months, was imposed. The couple have been disqualified from keeping cattle, sheep, pigs and goats for a period of seven years. The court heard that the sheep had not been shorn for two seasons and despite receiving repeated welfare advice, when inspected by AHPA vets, animals were found to be suffering from severe fly strike with maggots boring into the flesh. One lamb was found to be emaciated and so close to death that it had to be euthanized to avoid further suffering.

For more information – read the full story here