Sunderland businessman in court after Trading Standards 'overwhelmed' by more than 100 complaints

The director of a Sunderland business has appeared in court after more than 100 complaints were made to Trading Standards about two of his companies.

By Reporter
Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 11:18 am

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Aspire UK Home Improvements, which is registered in North Hylton Road, Sunderland, and ASC Home Improvements, in Gateshead, have been the subject of numerous complaints from customers, who have collectively paid “thousands and thousands of pounds” for incomplete work, poor standards and jobs which were never carried out, Gateshead Council has said.

Adam Crake is registered as director of both businesses, according to the latest listings on Companies House.

He appeared at North Tyneside County Court on Monday, November 4 after Gateshead Council earlier secured an Enforcement Order against him, his two companies and Sarah Callaghan, who previously acted as director of ASC Home Improvements.

The defendants appeared at North Tyneside County Court, pictured, on Monday, November 4. Picture: Google Maps.

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She later resigned her post.

The orders mean that Crake, his two companies and Callaghan will be in contempt of court if they use any so-called unfair trading practices, Gateshead Council say.

This includes failing to respond to customer complaints, making false or misleading statements to customers or failing to perform their services with reasonable care and skill.

Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection at Gateshead Council, has called on the public to contact Trading Standards if they have complaints to make about either business.

She said: “This is a particularly appalling case. We have been almost overwhelmed with complaints about these two companies and it was clear that we needed to act as quickly to halt their unlawful practices.

“We therefore took the unusual step of making the application without informing the defendants in a bid to speed up the process.

“People have paid thousands and thousands of pounds to these two companies with little to show other than further demands for more money before work can begin.

“I'm pleased that the courts have made these legal orders which will protect consumers and hopefully stop these two companies from trading unlawfully.”

Crake, the companies and Callaghan will also be in breach of the Enforcement Order if they use unfair contract terms requiring large deposits, delay refunds or omit information regarding particular contract terms.

When contacted by the Sunderland Echo Mr Crake said that the businesses were no longer operating.

He said: “This is a result of social media speculation. I put my heart into the business for 18months, it was my baby and my life has been ruined by this.

“I accepted the enforcement order as I have no intention of running any business in that way or doing those things.”

Mr Crake denies any wrong doing and said that he is cooperating with the police and trading standards.

Gateshead Council confirmed that a criminal investigation into the businesses is ongoing.

A spokesman said: “Gateshead Council Trading Standards is conducting a criminal investigation into Mr Crake and associated companies. This is taking time due to the large volume of evidence our investigators have gathered.

“We are also actively investigating the activities of another company associated with Adam Crake, Aspire UK Home Improvements.”

“We were recently successful in obtaining an Enforcement Order preventing Adam Crake, ASC and Aspire Home Improvements from carrying out certain activities.”