court case 2

Rogue trader back in court

A rogue trader who was previously hit with a court bill of more than £7,000 was back in court and given a criminal behaviour order thanks to the work of Trading Standards.

Christopher Cole, aged 46, of Brownhills, Walsall, had previously pleaded guilty to two offences under the Fraud Act along with four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations in 2019.  The court heard how he had carried out shoddy work and falsely claimed to be a FENSA registered installer.

Cole had previously been handed a 14-month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months. He was ordered to carry out 200 hours community service and pay over £7,000 in compensation and costs. Whilst subject to the suspended prison sentence Cole continued his dishonest dealings, breaching the conditions of his suspended sentence. Dudley trading standards received a further five complaints which led to a further investigation.

Cole entered a guilty plea for this new matter, a single offence that relates to his dishonest trading activities whilst dealing with five complainants with whom he had contracted to carry out works, including the installation of window glazing, doors, and a conservatory.

The court heard how he failed to provide his customers with proper quotes or honour their statutory cancellation rights. In every case he demanded deposits or payments up front for materials which were either not delivered or of poor quality. He did not return monies owed and failed to deliver on most jobs.

Where work was undertaken it was of such poor quality that remedial work was required, with Cole’s customers having to foot the additional bills. In some cases, sadly his victims have been unable to cover these costs and are having to live with incomplete and in some cases dangerous works.

Cole appeared for sentence before HHJ Jacobs on 24 May 2024 at Wolverhampton Crown Court. He was sentenced to 23 months imprisonment suspended for two years, with 30 RAR days and 100 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation to a victim and £1,000 in costs.

A Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) was granted against Cole for 15 years. CBOs are designed to tackle the most serious and persistent anti-social individuals where their behaviour has brought them before a criminal court. Anyone breaching an order is guilty of a criminal offence. The maximum penalty for this is five years' imprisonment.

Dr Mayada Abuaffan, director of public health, said:

‘We have a dedicated trading standards team that did not stop till all the victims of Christopher Cole received justice. Let this be a warning to other traders that should they decide to carry out any fraudulent business practices in the borough, they should expect to be investigated by Dudley trading standards.

Contact Information

Dudley Council