Rogue trader who targeted Yate residents must pay £5,000 compensation
A ROUGE trader who targeted Yate residents has been ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and told to pay almost £5,000 to his victims.
Matthew Newman, 35, of Mortimer Road in Filton, ran a fraudulent landscaping business called Elysian Fields South West Limited.
South Gloucestershire Trading Standards investigated after a number of complaints from residents who complained that Newman was repeatedly taking large upfront payments from customers for materials for landscaping projects, then doing little or no work at all before disappearing with their money.
One of the cases that came to court involved a Yate resident and other victims in Stoke Gifford and Bradley Stoke also came forward.
Newman appeared before Bristol Magistrates’ Court, where he pleaded guilty to three offences of fraudulent trading and a single further count of fraud.
As well as the 300 hours of unpaid work he must now do, he was told to repay his victims the £4,852.40 he took from them.
Four victims came forward, all reporting similar behaviour by Newman and his company between 2015 and 2018.
Newman was eventually traced to Filton with help from Avon and Somerset Police.
He expressed remorse for his actions in court, claiming that at the time of the offending he used the money he took from his victims to fund a drug habit.
He was informed by the magistrates that had he not pleaded guilty at the first opportunity he would have been sent to prison.
South Gloucestershire strong safer communities manager Mark Pullin said: “We strongly advise householders against paying traders large sums of money or the full price up front before any work has been carried out.
“Our advice to anyone who suspects they may have been the victim of a rogue trader is to report the matter by calling the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”