Two greedy and cynical businessmen who duped pensioners into paying for sub-standard driveways have been ordered to repay their victims a total of £62,000.
Rogue traders Robert Morrison and Paul Towers, who were jailed last March for four years and three months, have been ordered to repay £71,992 of their ill-gotten gains following a compensation hearing at Leeds Crown Court under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Just over £62,000 will be used to compensate victims who come from Kirklees and other areas of Yorkshire.
Towers, of Verdun Road, Wibsey, Bradford was found to have benefited from criminal conduct to the value of £309,548.71.
However he was ordered to pay £65,024.32 which represented the total value of assets he currently holds. An eight month period of imprisonment was set in default of non-payment.
Morrison, of Lower Crow Nest Drive, Lightcliffe, Halifax was found to have benefited from criminal conduct to a value £303,533.68.
However he was ordered to pay £6,967.72 which represented the total value of assets he currently holds. A three month period of imprisonment was set in default of non-payment.
Both men, whose Brighouse-based firm traded as Resinways and Drive-Ways, have been given three months to pay the confiscation orders and if either of them come into further assets in the future, the law enables Trading Standards to recover further sums until they have fully repaid their benefit from criminal conduct.
The pair, who last year admitted charges relating to unfair trading, were involved in the following offending:
* Entering into a contract with a 94 year old man who had a significant visual impairment and was unable to read his contract.
* Entering into a contract with an 84 year old lady with Alzheimer’s.
* Telling a customer that she had to pay in full or the men would be pulled off the job when it was only half completed.
* Failing to refund deposits totalling £4,400 when consumers cancelled their contracts.
* Failing to honour guarantees when consumers complained of defects with their driveways.
* Advertising that their drives were anti-slip when in fact the company knew that customers had fallen due to the slippiness of their drive.
The confiscation orders were granted following an investigation by West Yorkshire Trading Standards.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “I am pleased that the victims in this awful case have been compensated through the hard work of the joint investigation within West Yorkshire Trading Standards and prosecutors.
“The callous impact of targeting people for financial exploitation and crime in this way is all too clear and it’s crucial that we protect and support those that are most vulnerable in our communities.
“It’s pleasing to know that the team I have helped jointly fund and set up, The West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team, has contributed to protecting vulnerable people from these heartless criminals in bringing the offenders to justice.”
Do you want news alerts on Whatsapp?
The Examiner has launched a Whatsapp group to help make sure you don't miss a news break or big story.
If you'd like to receive alerts text NEWS to 07833 287309 . Then add the number to your contacts as 'Examiner'.
Your phone number won't be shared.
Linda Davis, head of the West Yorkshire Exploitation and Abuse Team said: “Many of the victims in this case were elderly and vulnerable with a number of them losing their entire life savings as a result of this unscrupulous rogue trading.
“However through the use of the Proceeds of Crime Act we have not only been able to recover the money lost by the victims, but have also ensured that the defendants will not financially benefit from their despicable criminal activities.”
The Financial Investigation Team at Trading Standards has been working hard throughout the investigation to retrieve compensation for the victims.
As a result of this compensation was awarded to all 17 victims in this case totalling £62,024.90.