Rogue East Durham builder jailed for leaving 'victims thousands of pounds out of pocket'
An unqualified builder has been jailed after he undertook several poor quality housing improvements.
Durham Crown Court heard Darren Paterson’s company Jaxon Joinery undertook extensions, garage conversions and bathroom installations at five North-East properties between January 2014 and August 2018.
An investigation by Durham County Council’s trading standards team found the work was unfit for purpose and demonstrated a clear lack of skills and experience.
Many improvements were of such poor standard that constructions needed to be demolished and new contractors hired to rectify work.
Paterson, of Jack Lawson Terrace, Wheatley Hill, quoted one victim £27,270 to carry out a two-story extension at her Peterlee property.
The woman made several payments, totalling £26,000 for materials and labour, with Paterson requesting money before planning permission had even been granted.
An expert witness confirmed the work was substandard and indicated that Paterson had only completed about £10,500 worth of work at the property, despite receiving £26,000 for the project.
The work, which was never completed, was demolished, with a replacement firm having to start from scratch.
Forty-nine-year-old Paterson, who claimed to be a professional bathroom fitter and capable builder, also charged more than £2,000 to fit a bathroom in Wheatley Hill.
After four weeks, furniture was not fitted, flooring was only half complete, there had been no attempt at electrics and tiling had been wrongly fitted over plumbing, leaving a radiator that didn’t work.
A new contractor uninstalled all work and refitted the bathroom and, although £400 was returned to the victim, she lost £1,694.21, plus the cost of repair work.
Paterson pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and four counts of misleading commercial practice.
The court heard that he requested a suspended sentence to allow him to continue to care for his child.
Paterson was sentenced to 58 weeks of immediate imprisonment as the court deemed it unlikely the complainants would be compensated.
He will serve half of his sentence in custody and the balance on licence.
Owen Cleugh, public protection manager at Durham County Council, said afterwards: “Mr Paterson’s misleading business practices left his victims thousands of pounds out of pocket and caused them considerable stress.
"We are pleased with the judge’s decision to impose a custodial sentence which demonstrates how seriously the courts take such offences."