Rogue builder who fleeced thousands from homeowner fined

Thomas Cash pocketed thousands then vanished

A disgraced builder from Harrow who took advantage of a customer, fleecing thousands of pounds before leaving their garden work in a state - has been forced to pay £9,326 by magistrates following a prosecution by Brent and Harrow Trading Standards.

Thomas Joseph Cash, 27, of Elmgrove Road, bullied his customer into handing over £3,000 in advance, for work that should have taken a week. Once Cash, of Driveline Paving & Surfacing, had the money in his hand – he promptly vanished, within days of starting work. The victim’s nightmare kept on going – when a Trading Standards and Building Control inspection revealed the poor quality work had needed planning permission.

Cllr Keith Ferry, cabinet member for planning said:

“This is what we do – we defend our residents in court from the unscrupulous and the exploitative. This rogue trader’s behaviour goes beyond unprofessional greed. It is criminal behaviour, and thanks to the hard work of our Trading Standards officers we have won justice for his victim and made him pay for his crime.”

Cash initially quoted the homeowner for works in the garden including labour, materials and cleaning up at a property in Harrow at a cost of £4,200. He then aggressively demanded £2,000 on the very first day work began and later demanded more before laying out the foundation. 

At Willesden Magistrates court on Tuesday 31st October 2017, Cash was found guilty of four offences including using aggression to demand money, not completing work on agreed time, and for carrying out unprofessional practices leaving work that was sub-standard. Mr Cash had previously pleaded guilty to on the 11th July 2017 to two offences of falsely stating he would remove all waste  and not giving the customer any written cancellation rights. 

Homeowners are advised that if they are considering and  building of landscaping  work, not to agree anything until you have properly researched the tradesperson and can be satisfied  they are professional.
General advice is:

  • Do not agree to building works offered by a cold caller 
  • Never pay cash in advance to a builder
  • Where possible, pay by cheque or a credit card 
  • Obtain a least two written quotes, ideally three and make sure they include all agreed work and materials
  • Where possible obtain references, or use recommendations of others. 
  • Look out for trades people who are registered in proper associations or who come recommended on review websites and check their registrations are valid
  • Consult Harrow Council before commencing works to ensure all planning and building controls are being complied with 

To report a rogue builder or for further help and advice, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.