A rogue trader has been convicted of scamming an Andover resident out of thousands of pounds through unnecessary work.

Thomas Edward Turner, of Odstock Road, Salisbury, was sentenced to two years and eight months in jail on March 22 after pleading guilty to fraud at Bournemouth Crown Court.

The 41-year-old is estimated to have scammed his victims, many of whom were vulnerable, out of over £100,000.

Between August and September 2018, Turner worked for All Seasons, a firm which provided services at “grossly inflated prices” according to Trading Standards. The company carried out tasks such as roof, drive, and garden work, but charged excessively for them, as well as charging for work not carried out and work that was unnecessary.

The court heard that Turner would approach elderly and often vulnerable victims and frighten them into believing that their roofs had serious problems which required immediate attention. Two of the victims were in the later stages of dementia and one was registered blind.

His men would start work immediately and undertake “unnecessary and sub-standard” work at grossly inflated prices. The victims paid in advance for the work by cash or bank transfer.

In one incident Turner told a Shipton Bellinger resident that the whole roof of their property needed replacing, as well as the chimney being in a dangerous condition and the battens were fastened with string. A chartered surveyor who later examined the property after the work had been done stated that it was all unnecessary and had a value of, at most, £2500. The victim paid £43,000.

Following an investigation by Trading Standards and Dorset Council, Turner was eventually arrested at the home of an Andover victim. Eight victims were identified in total across Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Devon, with his bank accounts showing they had lost over £100,000 between them. In court, Turner pleaded guilty to £70,000.

He told Bournemouth Crown Court that he was not in charge, and was acting ‘under a degree of duress and threats’ from two brothers. However, he was unable to identify them and officers could find no evidence of their existence.

Judge Stephen Climie, sentencing Turner, said he was of previous good character, but that taking the matter to trial showed a total lack of remorse and an attempt to evade his responsibility.

Councillor Jill Haynes, portfolio holder for customer, community and regulatory services at Dorset Council, who helped prosecute Turner, said: “This is a significant case affecting vulnerable consumers in several counties. Our Trading Standards team will continue to give a high priority to tackling instances of unfair and fraudulent trading like this, especially where the victims are more vulnerable. Anyone trading in this manner can expect formal enforcement action to be taken against them.

Residents need to careful when arranging work on their homes remain vigilant and report any concerns they have about property repair work in their neighbourhood.”

To report concerns about rogue traders in your area, you should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.