Pair sentenced for role in building fraud

Two directors from the north east whose company carried out fraudulent and dangerous home improvement works that cost victims thousands of pounds have been sentenced at Teesside Crown Court today (24 October 2023).

Victims lost a total of £106,670 between 2019 and 2021 to Riverside Resin Ltd, with many losing thousands due to poor quality work on driveways, kitchens and garages found to breach building regulations. In many cases, work was deemed unsafe and required thousands of pounds worth of remedial work or demolishing.

Rebecca Wilson, 40, of Billingham, County Durham, was handed a 45 month custodial sentence for fraud and regulatory offences. She was also disqualified from being a director for eight years and given an eight year criminal behaviour order preventing her from working in the home maintenance trade at any level either as the owner or employee of a business. David Gillies, 43, of Redcar, North Yorkshire, was sentenced to eight months for regulator offences, suspended for18 months. He was also ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work in 12 months.

The fraud offences concern false representations made to customers of Riverside Resin Ltd that work would be completed to a reasonable standard. These offences were committed with Rebecca Wilson’s consent or involvement as a director of Riverside Resin Ltd. The regulatory offences relate to the failure of Riverside Resin to adequately undertake work, with the offences being committed with Rebecca Wilson and David Gillies’ consent or connivance or neglect.

One victim paid Riverside Resin £28,400 for a garage and kitchen extension, drive and patio. The sale was made over the phone and there was no written contract. Inspecting the work – some of which was never completed - an expert surveyor found electrical works that presented a risk of electrocution and numerous breaches of building regulations.

Another victim paid £14,500 to convert an outbuilding into a toilet and for some resin work. The foundations of the outbuilding were not completed to an acceptable standard and the roof leaked. An independent expert found the building needed to be demolished because of the terrible quality of the work, which included numerous breaches of building regulations. The victim was also pressured into paying more than the agreed price for the resin work.

Wilson and Gillies were prosecuted by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council following an investigation by the National Trading Standards North East Regional Investigation Team.

Lord Michael Bichard, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:

“Charging thousands of pounds to homeowners for poor quality work – much of it in breach of building regulations – shows a callous disregard for customers and their safety. Victims suffered significant distress and were put at risk in their own homes.

“This sentence sends a strong message that these sorts of crimes do not go unpunished. I would like to thank the National Trading Standards North East Regional Investigation Team for stopping anyone else from becoming victims.

“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.”

Councillor Norma Stephenson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety, said:

“We welcome the sentences given to Mr Gillies and Ms Wilson, whose unacceptable conduct has left victims not just from our Borough, but across the North East, thousands of pounds out of pocket.

“The sentencing once again serves as a warning to traders to ensure they must take their legal obligations seriously, otherwise they will very likely find themselves dealing with the consequences in court.

“Thank you to our Trading Standards team and North East Regional Investigations team, who have once again demonstrated how efficiently and robustly they investigate reports of unacceptable or fraudulent behaviour.”

Notes to Editors

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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.