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Public Protection Partnership Press Release 30th May 2022

Alert message sent 12/06/2022 19:31:00

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Public Protection Partnership Press Release – 30th May 2022

Trader sentenced to 38 months imprisonment for Fraud and Unfair Trading

Daniel Fidler aged 30 of Beresford Road, Poole, Dorset was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on 30th May 2022 after previously pleading guilty to seven counts of fraud by false representation contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 and seven counts of unfair trading contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.  Mr Fidler was sentenced to a total of thirty-eight months immediate custody.

The proceedings followed a lengthy and complex investigation by officers from the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Trading Standards Service supported by the PPP Joint Case Management Unit. The investigation commenced when a victim in Bracknell Forest and a victim in West Berkshire came to the attention of the trading standards team. The subsequent investigation revealed a pattern of offending across the south and south east.

The facts of the case were that between July 2018 and April 2020, Mr Fidler cold called fourteen properties offering free camera surveys of their drains and sewer pipes.  In each case he said he had found problems like cracks in the pipes or tree roots growing into the pipes and in some instances he claimed that failure to have work carried out to fix these problems would result in much bigger problems in the future.

In some cases Mr Fidler would offer to line the pipes with a resin using a stent, quoting high prices which consumers felt obliged to pay.  In most cases, the work was either not needed or poorly executed and more than one case the work actually blocked the pipes.  In one instance, he charged a household £21,100 for work that would normally cost £3,600 and caused such damage that the entire drainage system had to dug up and be replaced.  In another he was paid £6,912 and not only did an expert witness find the drains were in a serviceable condition, they could not find any lining.  The victims that the charges related to were aged between 78 and 90 years and some had clearly identified vulnerabilities and in some cases were living alone. 

In sentencing Mr Fidler to a total of thirty-eight months of imprisonment His Honour Judge Burgess QC stated these were ‘mean, nasty offences’. In addition a timetable was set for confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This investigation will now been conducted by Accredited Financial Investigators from the PPP.

Commenting on the case Cllr John Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection at Bracknell Forest Council said “This is clearly a serious case with a high level of harm with many vulnerable and / or elderly victims a number of whom lived alone. This was reflected in the lengthy immediate custodial sentence handed down by the Court. It is hoped that it sends a clear message to anyone engaged in this type of activity that there is the serious risk of prison if caught and brought before the court.”

It was a complex and detailed investigation by the Councils Shared Trading Standards Team and we are grateful for the support given to the team by National Trading Standards – Tri-regional Investigation Team.

Finally if you have concerns that you or friends, relatives or neighbours in Bracknell, West Berkshire or Wokingham, may be victims of trading related crime to contact the trading standards service on 01635 519930 or e-mail tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk. If a crime is in progress call 999.

Notes:
The Public Protection Partnership (PPP) is a shared service delivering Environmental Health, Licensing and Trading Standards to over 450,000 people and 10,000 businesses on behalf of two authorities (Partners), Bracknell Forest Council and West Berkshire Council. In addition PPP provide Trading Standards Services to Wokingham Borough Council.

Website:    www.publicprotectionpartnership.org.uk
Facebook: @PublicProtectionPartnershipUK
Twitter:      @PublicPP_UK
 
Message sent by
Angela Money (NWN, Multi Scheme Administrator, Thames Valley, West Berkshire LPA)

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