Preston and Chorley residents suffered misery at the hands of notorious rogue trader John Hargadon - now he is starting 32 months in jail
A rogue home improvement trader has lost his liberty after a court heard how he took money for jobs he never completed and told lies to trick homeowners into having work done.
The Crown Court hearing, at Lancaster's Ashton Hall, was told how 15 residents in Hutton, Walmer Bridge, Adlington, Hoghton, Clitheroe and other areas fell victim to John Hargadon, 54, who has already served a jail term for similar offences.
In a letter the builder read out loud to the judge, he said: "I honestly and truthfully apologise to the decent people I have deceived…I have realised that life is too short and I have changed."
Hargadon, of Collingwood Street, Colne, pleaded guilty to eight charges in total after a Lancashire Trading Standards probe and was jailed for 32 months.
He admitted three counts of participating in a fraudulent business - UK Driveway and Landscapes and Inspire - to defraud homeowners by failing to provide notices of cancellation rights or performing misdescribed, substandard or incomplete work, and five fraud charges.
Three further offences relating to failure to provide cancellation rights and one of making a false representation he had 'worked on nearby properties' will lie on the file, and he also had three offences in Cheshire and Yorkshire taken into consideration.
The court heard he made false representations that if victims paid him cash he would carry out work, lied about his name, failed to give people their rights to cancel contracts, and lied to a woman that his workmen were doing work for her next-door neighbours.
Some offences were committed while he was already on bail awaiting trial and sentence for other matters , and following his release on licence from prison.
His defence lawyer, James Heyworth, said there was "no excuse for his behaviour and no real mitigation", but told the court in June 2020 his granddaughter died three hours after birth and he had been helping his daughter.
He said he had borrowed £2,000 from a loan shark which spiralled to a debt of £25,000, was drinking and gambling too much, and "resorted to his old ways to make ends meet".
Sentencing, Judge Simon Berkson said his previous convictions from 2013 and 2017 were aggravating features, and that his victims had lost confidence in tradesmen, adding: "You were prepared to rip-off people of all ages and all types".
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