Published: 00:00, 03 October 2014 |
Updated: 15:28, 03 October 2014
A conman bullied four Whitstable residents to pay him £27,500 to pave their driveways even though the shoddy work was estimated at just £271.
Owen Saunders, of London Road, Wrotham, admitted six offences after he was prosecuted by Kent Trading Standards in one of the "worst cases" ever seen by officers.
Trading as Berkeley Driveways, he was charged for three counts of misleading customers and the other for using aggressive sales tactics.
The case was brought after Saunders received £27,500 from four Whitstable residents for work even though an independent expert valued his efforts at £271.
One of his victims included a 71-year-old disabled woman, living alone, who was charged £10,000 after workers pushed over her garden wall.
A 50-year-old neighbour was also fiddled after agreeing to a new drive on the proviso work didn't start straight away.
But despite the instructions, the men started on the same day with the work judged as "poor".
A 55-year-old man also ended up with a £10,000 bill even though experts assessed the driveway as "totally worthless".
And a 70-year-old woman gave Saunders his marching orders after refusing him permission to start at her home.
Trading Standards Manager Mark Rolfe said: “This was one of the worst cases my colleagues and I have come across.
"He preyed on vulnerable people without a thought for anything except lining his own pockets.
"His used aggressive tactics to get work, and then rode roughshod over customers' rights by starting work before the agreed start date, restricting customers' rights to cancel, increasing charges partway through a contract and providing poor workmanship which would deteriorate far too quickly.
"Saunders had received previous advice and a written warning from Trading Standards, which he ignored."
When interviewed about these offences, Saunders refused to comment. The case, heard at Canterbury Crown Court, was adjourned for sentencing.
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