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Builder who conned customers jailed for a year and banned from trade for life

Sheffield Town Hall and Peace Gardens

Builder Anthony Robinson, 69, of Belvedere Close, North Anston, Sheffield, has been jailed for a year and banned from working in the trade indefinitely after pleading guilty to offences of unfair and misleading trading at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday, September 24.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, whilst trading as Christian Alexander Developments Ltd, C A Developments and Ryan Construction, Robinson obtained over £103,000 from his victims.

His offending followed the same pattern, with Robinson promising to build an extension in the customer’s house, with much of the price paid in advance, before they then experienced delays, poor workmanship, aggressive demands for more money and a failure to complete the build.

He left a trail of angry, dissatisfied customers that reported their concerns to Trading Standards.

In the case of one victim, expert evidence from a surveyor concluded that the workmanship was so poor as to require the whole extension to be demolished to ground level and re-built. She told officers she paid Robinson £15,000 and was left with demolition costs of £4,000 and a further £17,000 to rebuild. The stress left her ill and unable to work and the time spent trying to sort out the problems dominated her life.

Another customer had paid £25,000 only for Robinson to walk away from the project, ignoring all requests for a refund. 

Robinson also inflated the cost of his work by falsely charging his victims VAT when he was unregistered and not entitled to.

When first interviewed by Trading Standards officers he claimed all his victims still owed him money.

Mr Recorder David Gordon told Robinson that he had caused a high degree of harm to his customers, stating he was unscrupulous on repeat occasions.

He said his actions resulted in significant financial loss and a great deal of upset caused by poor work and demands for money and overcharging for VAT when he had no right to do so. He added that it was a serious case, if not the worst kind. 

He sentenced Robinson to an immediate 12-month imprisonment and, at the request of Sheffield City Council, made a Criminal Behaviour Order prohibiting him from working in the building trade indefinitely.

Councillor Paul Wood, Executive Member for Housing, Roads and Waste Management, said: “This is the second case we have brought before the courts in the space of a week and it again highlights the risks that rogue traders pose to our communities. So often the harm caused by this type of offending is much greater than simply financial.

“Residents have every right to expect trustworthy and professional services and our officers remain committed to investigating those who exploit that trust through scams and rogue trading.

“I’m really pleased that the judge has supported our efforts to put a stop to people like Robinson, with a sentence that reflects the severity of his crime and sends a clear message to others, we won’t stand for it.

"This work is part of our wider strategy in partnership with the Sheffield Safeguarding Board, to protect our residents from these criminals, catch the offenders and prevent further offences on vulnerable people."

Sheffield Trading Standards officers work hard to prevent rogue traders, doorstep criminals and scams, and through a network of partner agencies, the council’s Not Born Yesterday campaign continues to raise awareness of these types of crimes, with increasing numbers of offenders brought to justice.

People with concerns or suspicions about a scam, rogue trader or fraudulent business activity can report those concerns to Sheffield Trading Standards at or 0114 2736290 (Sheffield Trading Standards) 03454 040506 (Citizens Advice Helpline).