A tradesman from Swindon has been sentenced to 20 months imprisonment suspended for two years at Bristol Crown Court today, Thursday 13th February 2020, after pleading guilty to two counts of fraudulent trading. He was also disqualified from being a director of a company for 8 years, must complete 160 hours unpaid work and wear an electronic tag for 3 months with curfew.
When passing sentence HHJ Blair QC said “You fobbed people off with the standard of work and are regarded as a cowboy”.
Brad Fairman, aged 27 from Blunsdon, Swindon, was paid by homeowners across the West Midlands and the South West for services including tiling, plumbing and plastering but would either fail to complete the job or he would be asked to leave due to shoddy workmanship.
The defendant left behind a trail of poor and unfinished bathrooms and kitchens, forcing his victims to pay thousands of pounds to correct his shoddy work. His offending took place across Oxford, Swindon, the Midlands, Gloucester, Weymouth and Royal Wootton Bassett.
His victims were predominantly women on their own, some of whom had recent bereavements and all needed a reliable plumber. An 86-year-old female was left for a month without a bath or shower facilities and had to make do with only her kitchen sink until a relative stepped in to help.
An investigation by National Trading Standards Regional Investigation Team (South West), hosted by Bristol City Council, found that the defendant:
Quoted £1600 for work on a bathroom but charged over £3200 despite failing to complete the job.
Charged one victim more than £10,000 for a bathroom and kitchen, which required a total refit. This included charging twice for a boiler.
Charged one customer £1,000 to purchase and fit a boiler which was never supplied.
On numerous occasions the defendant failed to provide cancellation rights and often found additional work that he said required attention or he would volunteer to complete. His initial quotations became outdated and no further paperwork was given. His victims were then left with inflated costs.
The defendant used various aliases and false addresses to hide his identity so homeowners would be unable to contact him for refunds. Aliases include Brad Harrison, Brad Bracknell, Bradley Ford and Jack Plumb. The defendant also changed the trading name of his business on six occasions, including Fairman Plumbing Solutions, Royal Flush Plumbing and Heating and, most recently, Inventive Plumbing and Heating.
Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Trading Standards, said:
“Fraudulent traders can cause significant distress to homeowners who hand over hard earned money in good faith but end up paying out significantly more. We will continue to take action against individuals who engage in fraudulent activity to ensure they are not able to profit from their crimes.
“If you or someone you know, has fallen victim to a fraud like this you should report it to the Citizens Advice consumer service helpline by calling 0808 223 1133.”
Bristol City Councillor Steve Pearce, Cabinet member for regulatory services, said:
“Fairman was a prolific fraudster, operating across a large area of the West Country and beyond, ripping consumers off. It is testament to the Trading Standards Regional Investigation teams’ cross border capabilities that this case has been brought before the courts securing justice for his victims. Bristol City Council, as the host authority of this team, takes great pride in the professionalism of its officers to bring this case to such a successful conclusion.”
Notes to Editors
About National Trading Standards
National Trading Standards delivers national and regional consumer protection enforcement. Its Board is made up of senior and experienced heads of local government trading standards from around England and Wales with an independent Chair. Its purpose is to protect consumers and safeguard legitimate businesses by tackling serious national and regional consumer protection issues and organised criminality and by providing a “safety net” to limit unsafe consumer goods entering the UK and protecting food supplies by ensuring the animal feed chain is safe.