A ROGUE builder who tricked Cumbrian householders into signing bogus documents relating to work on their homes has been jailed.
Kevin Doyle was contacted during 2017 by five different residents who asked him to carry out improvements at properties in St Bees, Wigton, Maryport and Whitehaven which would ultimately have been worth a total of £30,600.
But 36-year-old Doyle failed to tell the unsuspecting customers of their legal cancellation rights, which he also attempted to make them sign away on agreement documents.
Carlisle Crown Court heard several householders expressed concerns about the sub-standard nature of work after it had begun. When one woman who’d instructed Doyle to work on her late mother’s property then decided she didn’t want him to continue, he told her there was no way out of the agreement he had duped her into signing.
In an impact statement she described feeling “frightened, intimidated and totally helpless”. She ultimately opted to sell the property rather than move into it. Other victims were left feeling “foolish” and “naive” and some were left out of pocket.
It emerged Doyle had previously been warned by trading standards officials in his native North Lanarkshire – amid consumer concern – about his legal obligation to make cancellation rights known to customers.
Doyle, of Dunbeth Court, Coatbridge, was sentenced today (THURS) having admitted five offences of fraud by false representation, and two of engaging in aggressive commercial practice.
His lawyer Anthony Parkinson said of Doyle: “He’s really a man who does indeed live a feckless life – has no organisation – rather than (being) somebody who goes out with malicious intent.”
But, jailing him for 14 months, Judge Andrew Jefferies QC said: “Whether your behaviour is described as feckless or malicious, it has had a huge impact on those that have had dealings with you.”