Unscrupulous East Anglian tradesman jailed

On 10 November 2023 at King’s Lynn Crown Court, Ben Draper of Wisbech was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

Unscrupulous East Anglian tradesman jailed

Mr Draper pleaded guilty to one offence of contravening professional diligence under consumer protection regulations, and four offences of dishonestly appropriating monies for works which he did not undertake, and by his failure to refund monies he intended to permanently deprive consumers of their property, contrary to the Theft Act 1968.

It is noteworthy that Mr Draper’s failure to notify installation work formed part of the case against him – a timely reminder that the notification of boiler installations is a legal requirement. OFTEC had been contacted by Norfolk Trading Standards because, alongside other offences, Mr Draper was falsely claiming that his business was OFTEC registered and OFTEC provided information confirming his non-registered status as part of the investigation.

Repeat offender

Commenting on the successful prosecution, Norfolk Trading Standards said: “The circumstances of the case are that Mr Draper, a self-employed builder, contracted with at least twelve consumers across Norfolk to undertake building and home improvement works, including boiler replacements. Mr Draper requested deposits from the consumers totaling just under £29,000 to secure contracts. Mr Draper then failed to attend the consumer’s properties to undertake the work or undertook work of a poor standard; he also failed in some cases to register boiler/appliances with the requisite safety bodies. Mr Draper then blocked consumers’ ability to access communication with him and failed to refund monies for his failure to complete the works. This caused the victims financial and emotional distress and necessitated additional expenditure to employ other traders to complete the work.”

At the request of Trading Standards, the judge also issued a Criminal Behaviour Order against Mr Draper for a period of five years, to ensure that any future work he undertakes complies with good commercial practices. Any breach of this order is deemed contempt of court. Costs of £1000 were also awarded to Trading Standards.