A parking fraudster who was sentenced to 16 months in prison back in September has now been ordered to pay more than £150,000.
Leslie Smith of Minsterworth, Gloucestershire, trading as “Ringway Traffic Management”, “Traffic Management Solutions” and “Highway Safety Link”, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court to 16 months imprisonment for Fraudulent Trading contrary to Section 9 of the Fraud Act 2006.
And now he has been ordered to repay £50,879.97 compensation to his victims and £100K confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Smith now has three months to pay or else face a sentence in default of 18 months.
The case involved a lengthy investigation by the National Trading Standards South West Scambusters Team, which resulted in Smith pleading guilty in April 2014 for fraudulently trading between 2008 and 2012.
Following the conclusion of the confiscation process, Fi Hance, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards at Bristol City Council, host authority to the South West Scambusters Team, said: “The conclusion of the confiscation process represents the final stage of this thorough and lengthy investigation.
“The tough prison sentence delivered in September 2015, coupled with the money that must be paid demonstrates the seriousness with which the courts view this kind of offending.
“Many victims in this case will now be compensated for their losses. Offenders should take note that targeting victims in this way will be dealt with in as robust a way as possible.
“I would also like to pass on my compliments to the Scambusters team for such a thorough investigation which has brought about such a successful result.”
Smith had committed offences across the country which saw 30 victims caught in a scam targetting churches, schools and charities of over £50,000.
Smith would cold call on people and offer a price per metre or foot for marking white lines in car parks.
He would falsely claim that he was working on behalf of the Local Authority Highways and had been working on roads nearby with paint left over. Sometimes he would tell the consumer there was a legal requirement to have certain work done.
Once the work was completed, which was often of a poor quality and involved more work than had been authorised, a demand was made for a grossly inflated bill.
The locations of Smith’s offences spanned the country, including Cheshire, Derbyshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Humberside, Kent, Sussex, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Northumberland, London and Birmingham.
Central to the case were the two other names used by Smith in order to avoid detection by the authorities. These were Paul Lee and Ian Taylor and Smith had gone to great lengths in creating these different identities.
Jonathan Martin, Trading Standards Manager, National Trading Standards South West Scambuster Team, said: “Leslie Smith is an unscrupulous rogue trader who convinced churches, schools and medical practices that he was a genuine highways worker.
“The National Trading Standards South West Scambuster Team worked exceptionally hard to bring this fraudulent trader to justice. This was an extremely complex case and our case officer worked tirelessly and travelled extensively to gather the evidence that resulted in Smith’s arrest, prosecution and subsequent prison sentence.
“I urge everyone to think twice before agreeing to have work done by a cold-caller – always check their credentials before handing over any money. Anyone who is concerned about themselves, or others, being the victims of similar criminal activity should contact the Citizens Advice helpline on 03454 040506.”
Notes to Editors
About National Trading Standards
- National Trading Standards is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
- National Trading Standards provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
- National Trading Standards funds the Scambuster Teams that target rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams:
1.Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CeNTSA)
2.North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)
3.Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)
4.Trading Standards North West (TSNW)
5.Tri Region Scambusters (TRS), on behalf of Trading Standards South East Ltd (TSSEL), East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and London Trading Standards Association (LoTSA)
6.Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)
7.Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and
8.Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)
There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
For more information, please visit www.nationaltradingstandards.uk