West Berkshire Council

Rogue Trader gets 12 month Community Order and will pay £6,369 compensation

Guilty plea to charges of fraud and breaking consumer protection law

LOGO: Public Protection Partnership

Issued on:  30 July 2019

Kane Wootten (23) of Wenlock Edge, Charvil, was convicted at Reading Magistrates' Court on 26 July 2019 after pleading guilty to two charges of fraud and three charges under consumer protection law. It followed an investigation by officers from the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Trading Standards Team and a prosecution by the PPP Joint Case Management Unit.

The investigation commenced after three Wokingham Borough and one Reading Borough victims placed posts on Facebook for landscaping work to be done in their gardens for things like laying paving or artificial grass, installing decking or fencing between April and July 2018. Mr Wootten answered these posts offering to do the work and he accepted payments for deposits or to pay for materials, sometimes amounting to over 50% of what he quoted to complete the work in full. 

No work was done on three of the four gardens. In one case Mr Wootten asked for a second payment of £1,450 for materials after already taking £1,500 for a deposit. During an interview under caution, and in accepting guilt at court, Mr Wootten explained he had taken money from the last two victims to pay his rent and he was struggling at that point in his life with a large number of personal issues. He was given a twelve month Community Order to do 160 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay compensation to each of the victims in the amounts he had taken, the total of which amounted to £6,369.

Commenting on the case, Councillor Parry Batth, Executive Member for Environment and Leisure at Wokingham Borough Council said:

"The actions of the defendant in this case were completely unacceptable. People have the right to assume that when hand over money that the work they are paying for will be, or has been, carried out. We will always investigate matters of this nature and I would urge anyone who feels they have been the subject of unfair trading to contact the Service."

The Public Protection Partnership is a shared service of Wokingham Borough Council, Bracknell Forest Council and West Berkshire Council and delivers trading standards, environmental health and licensing functions. Anyone with concerns about a trader should call (01635) 519930 or email tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk