Rogue Trader sentenced to 66 weeks custody
Ruben William Reed, a Director of Warm Roof Group Ltd, Warm Systems Group Ltd and FDG Associates Ltd, at the relevant time of the offences with which he was charged, was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Friday 26 June 2020, after pleading guilty at Reading Crown Court in August last year to six offences between February to November 2018.
The offences consisted of 4 charges under the Fraud Act 2006, and 2 charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
The convictions followed an investigation conducted by the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Trading Standards Service working with the PPP Joint Case Management Unit and West Berkshire Legal Services. The investigation, was commenced following the receipt of complaints from Berkshire residents.
The victims were five elderly and vulnerable homeowners who were cold called in their own homes. Mr Reed purported to offer professional property services at a competitive price, and persuaded the victims by offering additional services for free if they were to agree to building work, or by reducing the cost if they allowed him to use their property to advertise his company.
Work was started within days of the first approach. Once work had already commenced on the victims’ properties, Mr Reed soon identified further remedial work. The victims felt pressured to accept these quotes due to their concerns about their properties and as the work had already begun. He quoted unreasonably high sums for the additional work, and, often some form of instant payment was required. In each case the work was found by an expert to be of poor quality and the victim was significantly overcharged.
Mr Reed has paid £44,177 to West Berkshire Council which includes £33,432 in compensation and prosecution costs of £10,745. He was sentenced to immediate custody for a period of sixty six weeks and has been disqualified from being a director for a period of five years.
Councillor Hilary Cole, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Planning and Housing and Member of the Joint Public Protection Committee said: "This was a serious case of fraud and unfair trading with crimes perpetrated on vulnerable residents. The sentence sends out a message to anyone considering doing anything similar that an immediate custodial sentence is a likely outcome.
"In this case we are also pleased to have been able to recover compensation for the victims. I would urge anyone who has concerns that they, their family, friends or neighbours have been a victim of trading related crime to contact us."
Any Bracknell, West Berkshire or Wokingham resident with concerns about activity of this nature or any other trading standards or public protection issues should contact Trading Standards on (01635) 519 930 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Public Protection Partnership is a shared service of Bracknell Forest Council, West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council and delivers trading standards, environmental health and licensing functions.