Landscaper given suspended prison sentence for fraud
A landscape gardener has been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay compensation, after defrauding several victims across Suffolk out of thousands of pounds.
Darren Moore, 42, of Wimbledon, was convicted of carrying out garden landscaping work for a fraudulent purpose, following an investigation by Suffolk Trading Standards.
While running an operation spanning the county while trading as Darren Moore Garden Landscaping and DIY, he came to the attention of Trading Standards following a customer’s complaint about poor work in 2022.
Eight witnesses – who collectively paid £10,800, of which just £2,900 was refunded – alleged that Moore acted dishonestly by taking payments, but failing to complete the work.
Concerns were also raised about the quality of his work, with an independent chartered surveyor concluding that it “fell well below an acceptable standard”.
On Monday, Moore was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 18 months.
He was also ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work within the next 18 months, and pay £15,309 in compensation and legal costs, in addition to the sentence.
Graham Crisp, head of Suffolk Trading Standards, said: “Darren Moore’s offending has sadly left a number of Suffolk residents out of pocket.
“I hope this sentence goes someway to provide justice to them.
“I would like to thank those victims who assisted with our investigation as without them, behaviour like that of Darren Moore can go unpunished.”
Cllr Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection, added: “I welcome the sentence delivered and am pleased that the court recognised the financial loss caused to the victims.
“Suffolk Trading Standards takes a hard line on businesses that flout the law and this case should send a message to everyone that rogue traders will not be tolerated in Suffolk.
“I would urge residents thinking of having home improvement work carried out to always obtain two or three quotes before making a decision, and to never pay a trader until the job is completed to your satisfaction.”