Rogue trader took OAP to cash machine

Peterborough Magistrates' Court
Peterborough Magistrates' Court

An aggressive trader who took a vulnerable elderly woman to a cash machine to pay for work he had done has been labelled as ‘deporable.’

Terry Smith (34) of Oxney Road, took the 85-year-old woman to the cash machine in his van after carrying out gardening work.

This week he pleaded guilty to engaging in a commercial practice which was aggressive at a hearing at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. He was fined more than £300 at the hearing.

Speaking after the hearing, Peter Gell, Head of Regulatory Services at Peterborough City Council, said: “We do not tolerate criminal behaviour of this nature where vulnerable people are targeted, the tactics deployed to get the cash by escorting the lady to the cash machine were deplorable and particularly aggressive.”

Colin Miles, prosecuting, told the court: “The victim, an 85-year-old woman with mobility problems, was approached by the defendant and another man in his van.

“They said the victim could need her hedge trimming - and a fee of £200 was agreed - however, no contract was signed.

“The defendant left a leaflet, and started to cut the hedge. Shortly afterwards the defendant knocked on the door and asked for the money.

“The victim said she did not have the money on her - so he drove her to the garage and stood with her while she withdrew the money from a cash machine, before driving her home.

“She said she felt distressed, and called a relative who called the police.”

Four days later Smith turned up again at the home to finish the job - but the court heard the victim said she did not want him at her home - and when he offered to give her the £200 back, she refused.

Defending, Andy Cave said: “He has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, and has showed remorse.

“He now works for an employer who is better at paperwork. He is now aware of the rules around having to give 14 days cooling off period. He accepts his business practices were naive.”

Chair magistrate Hilary Shields described Smith’s behaviour as ‘unacceptable.’

He was fined £361, ordered to pay £500 costs, a victim surcharge of £36 and compensation of £200.

A Criminal Behaviour Order was imposed for five years, ordering him to improve his paperwork with signed contracts and telling customers about the 14 day cooling off period.

If you think you have been a victim of a rogue trader please report this to the Trading Standards team by calling 01733 453412 or emailing tradingstandards@peterborough.gov.uk