Barnet rogue trader conned people of nearly £70,000 for unfinished work across East London

By Staff

A rogue trader conned nearly £70,000 from people across East London for unfinished construction works.

Matthew Collins, of Cat Hill, Barnet, pocketed thousands from homeowners in Redbridge for work, including new patios, major house refurbishment and large landscape gardening projects that were either half-finished or barely started.

Collins was charged with two offences for work between March 2017 and September 2018 at Romford Police Station after Redbridge Council’s Trading Standards Team had invited him for an interview following several complaints from people in Redbridge.

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One person said that Collins, who was working under Crest Driveway Solutions General Building, verbally quoted £1,500 to build a new patio In March 2017. He took £400 cash to buy materials after the contract was signed.

Collins, who changed his name by deed poll from Cohen to Collins, turned up days late to start the work, did not start, quoted and took more money to cover costs and then eventually had a labourer start the work weeks later.

The labourer lifted a few of the original patio slabs and then went. Collins has not returned since to the property with no explanation and no money returned.

Another account says that in February 2018 a homeowner hired Collins for significant house and garden refurbishment work. He quoted £23,000 and over the next few weeks, added more work to the contract, and asked for more money for materials. The homeowner kept making payments as requested.

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In March, a sub-contracted team turned up and started work, however, a couple of weeks later they stopped working as they had not been paid by Collins. The homeowner paid the contractors himself for them to continue so that the work was not unfinished.

When the homeowner finally had a meeting with Collins, Collins said that he had no money from fraudulent activity in his account. At this point, the homeowner instructed him not to continue with the contract and an agreement was eventually made where Collins paid back the money at a reduced amount of £18,000 at £500 monthly. No repayments have ever been made.

Collins was sentenced to two separate two-year imprisonments to run concurrently suspended for two years. He has been disqualified from becoming a director for seven years and is not to have any part in forming contracts or handling clients’ money in future employment

He must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, complete an eight-day rehabilitation programme, and cover the £1,800 prosecution costs.

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