Thomas Johnson senior was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and a curfew order. Thomas Johnson junior received 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 150 hours community service.
The defendants were ordered to pay £1,000 each in contributions to costs and a Proceeds of Crime Act investigation was ordered into Thomas Johnson senior.
The Johnsons pleaded guilty in August to offences under the Fraud Act 2006 following an investigation by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards. The court heard that the Johnsons had used the name of dissolved company Nuway Surfacing to cold-call elderly residents across the south west offering to resurface driveways.
Thomas Johnson senior wore a meaningless identification badge that he had issued himself.
The defendants’ vehicles had orange lights fitted on the top and were marked with the reflective strips often seen on legitimate highway contractors’ vehicles.
The pair charged their victims, aged between 64 and 86, well in excess of the appropriate rate for driveway-dressing work, which involves a film of hot tar covered by loose chippings. Their work was also not completed to the required standard.
Among the pair’s victims in the South Hams were retired farmer Alan Stoddard, 77, of Ermington, who paid £3,500; Mike Hopkins, 72, of Modbury, who paid £600; John Liddle, 76, of Diptford, who paid £1,200; and an 84-year-old woman in Marldon, near Paignton, who was asked for £1,800.
Their guilty plea related to substandard work, fraudulent non-provision of cancellation rights, the use of false paperwork and other articles for use in the fraud.
Referring to their resurfacing work for consumers, recorder Richard Onslow said the pair had ‘steamrollered over their rights’.
Devon County Council Trading Standards spokesman Cllr Roger Croad said: ‘This case is an example of how traders carried out poor work at inflated cost to their victims after gaining their trust by using false documents and identification.
‘Their sentencing is a reminder to others that their actions can be disrupted and can lead to enforcement action.
‘I would like to thank the victims for their courage in agreeing to give evidence in this matter and welcome the sentence that the court has given today.’
Cllr Croad’s Somerset counterpart, Cllr David Hall, said: ‘Rogues like this operate across county boundaries and our Trading Standards have to as well in order to deal with them effectively. The Devon and Somerset service is well-placed to meet these challenges.’
A list of businesses approved by Trading Standards is available on the website at www.devonsomersettradingstandards.gov.uk/