February 24, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Fraudster who conned more than a dozen customers receives suspended prison sentence

A dishonest trader has been sentenced after conning more than a dozen people into buying unsuitable heating and air conditioning units and taking deposits for work he didn’t do.

On Friday December 9 at Truro Crown Court, Adrian Brian Miles of East End, Redruth., was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and was given 200 hours unpaid work.

At a previous hearing, he pleaded guilty to a fraudulent trading offence under section 9 of the Fraud Act 2006.

Miles, who traded under the name Duchy Eco Heating, misled customers about the suitability of heating and air-conditioning systems and the warranty support they could expect to receive.

Between 2017 and 2021, Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards Team received 14 reports from unhappy customers. The issues included:
• Misleading customers into the initial purchase by offering extensive warranties, free servicing and maintenance programmes, which he then failed to honour.
• Failing to provide the legally required contract information.
• Taking deposits for work that he failed to do.
• Recommending heating or air-conditioning systems that were insufficient for the customer’s needs.
• Supplying systems which were installed incorrectly, and which then exposed the customer to further losses in order to rectify the issues.

Due to the environmental impact of the greenhouse gases involved in these systems, Miles could only purchase heating and air-conditioning equipment by demonstrating that he was properly certified and competent to carry out these installations.

A gavel and text saying In court

In the course of the Trading Standards investigation, it became clear that Miles had falsely claimed that his business was properly certified under the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations and made fraudulent applications to two certification bodies, including REFCOM.

Graeme Fox, Director of Technical at REFCOM said: “We are delighted to see this case come to a satisfactory conclusion. Environmental laws regarding greenhouse gas emissions were introduced to ensure responsible use of environmentally damaging substances, and limit their handling and use only by properly qualified and registered companies and individuals. This case has perfectly demonstrated how REFCOM is helping our authorities effectively enforce these regulations.”

Councillor Martyn Alvey, who is the portfolio holder responsible for Public Protection at Cornwall Council, said: “I’d like to thank our Trading Standards team who have worked hard to bring this case to court.

“This man misled customers and in some cases took money for work he didn’t do.

“This is totally unacceptable and I hope this acts as a warning to others that we will not hesitate to prosecute when traders operate illegally.”

Press release issued on December 13, 2022