Sunderland man arrested in building con investigation

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A SUNDERLAND builder has been arrested by police on suspicion of conning thousands of pounds from customers across the region

Investigations into at least 12 offences involving the businessman are now under way, after a spate of complaints over cash paid for work which was never completed.

A Wearside man in his 50s was arrested on Thursday morning following inquiries by the North East Scambusters Team working with Northumbria Police and Sunderland Council’s Trading Standards officers.

Investigations into the conduct of the builder have so far revealed claims of poor quality workmanship at jobs which have been completed along with failure to finish work that has already been paid for. The trader has also allegedly taken deposits from a number of people, and then failed to return to carry out the work agreed.

Investigations are expected to continue in the coming weeks.

Councillor James Blackburn, Sunderland Council’s portfolio holder for city services, said: “People’s lives can be blighted by rogue traders.

“Our Trading Standards Team will continue to work with partners to protect the public and businesses in our city from the activities of the dishonest minority.”

The North East Scambuster’s Team works with police to protect consumers from counterfeiters, prize draw scams, cowboy builders and doorstep salesmen.

Team manager Howard Turton added: “We have been actively involved in this investigation for many months so it is pleasing to see this successful outcome.”

He added: “Working with our partners, we aim to target rogue traders across the whole of the North East with a view to protecting the vulnerable in our communities.”

People in County Durham are being warned to only employ reputable traders after repair work carried out on one resident’s home was found to be potentially deadly.

Trading standards officers from Durham County Council are investigating the incident, in which a chimney was left blocked up by a trader touting for work in the south east of the county.

The trader told the householder that the chimney needed repairing and that people from neighbouring properties had complained about a brick falling from it.

But after the work had been completed, it was discovered that the chimney had been left completely blocked with no ventilation.

The consequences, had the householder used their gas fire, would have been a build up of carbon monoxide inside the property which could have proved fatal.

l People who have a problem with work carried out on their property can get advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06.