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Consumer news, Trading Standards prosecutions

‘Crime doesn’t pay’; Rogue builder told to pay back over £200,000

Posted on: 30 November 2023

Our Service prosecuted a rogue builder earlier this year, and now that builder could be paying out for ‘the rest of his life’.

Samuel Harvey, of Greenbank Road, Barnstaple, was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court on 30 March following a prosecution by Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service.

Convicted in March, on Thursday 16 November a Court ruled that Harvey had benefitted from his crimes to the tune of £214,684.11 – but because he has no assets available, he was ordered to pay a nominal £1, with the outstanding £214,683.11 to be revisited ‘at any time’ in the future.

Harvey had pleaded guilty to three offences under the Fraud Act and two offences under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

Between June 2020 and April 2022 Harvey, who ran a landscaping and building business in North Devon, took tens of thousands of pounds from his victims for building or landscaping work he either didn’t start or didn’t complete.

The victims, who were from Plymouth, Barnstaple, Bideford and Ilfracombe in Devon and Bridgend and Swansea in Wales, lost money with some who had works started but not completed having to pay other traders to have the work done properly.

The Court heard that Harvey had a previous similar conviction from 2021 relating to an incident in Bristol where he received a suspended 20-week prison sentence.

Judge Richardson said that Harvey had ‘left people feeling guilty and stupid when the fault does not lie with them.’

The Judge added: “You left people feeling unsure and insecure as to who to trust.” On sentencing she said she had taken into consideration his mitigation and early guilty plea.

Harvey has also been banned from running or managing a business for a period of ten years.

Alex Fry, Operations Manager (Intelligence & Investigations) Heart of the South West Trading Standards, said: “Mr Harvey profited from taking money from his customers but not completing the works. The court has handed him a substantial Proceeds of Crime Order that will stay with him until paid. This order sends a message that defrauding customers and profiteering from that will not be tolerated and where possible we will seek to recover any money made.”

Learn how to protect yourself from fraud and scams.

You can find a directory of Trading Standards-approved trades people on the Buy With Confidence website.