Rogue trader ‘ran away’ after conning cash from a partially-sighted pensioner

North Somerset Courthouse.

North Somerset Courthouse. - Credit: Archant

A rogue trader, who took hundreds of pounds from a near-blind pensioner in return for work he had not done, has been ordered to pay compensation by a judge.

James Joe Maloney, of Moorland Park in Hewish, appeared at Bristol Crown Court last week to answer two charges relating to consumer protection legislation.

The court heard how Maloney had been approached to clean, re-sand and seal the driveway of a man from Winscombe.

The 80-year-old, who has limited vision and is registered blind, had responded to a flier delivered to his home by Maloney’s company New Style Driveways.

However, the man was pressured into paying £400 cash immediately at the end of a two-and-a-half hour job – and yet, within a a week, weeds were growing back and the newly-applied sand had been washed away by the rain.

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The victim said: “To my mind, he (Maloney) prices a job, then does the minimum amount of work before he grabs the money and runs away.”

North Somerset Trading Standards officers were called in to investigate. Industry experts found no indication of any sealer being applied to the driveway, and also remarked on Maloney’s poor workmanship.

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It was estimated that the cost of rectifying the work would be in the region of £600.

Mandy Bishop, assistant director for operations at North Somerset Council, said: “Regrettably this is not the first time that Mr Maloney has breached consumer legislation and despite agreeing to comply after a formal intervention in 2014, he has continued to pay scant regard to the law.

“This prosecution highlights that North Somerset Trading Standards will not accept the use of unfair trading methods to undermine consumer confidence in our local traders, or to harm the financial well-being of our residents.”

Maloney, aged 24, pleaded guilty to the offences and was ordered to carry out 80 hours’ unpaid community work, and to pay £600 compensation and £1,400 prosecution costs.

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