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Serial fraudster imprisoned for 18 months after council investigation

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A serial fraudster who scammed six victims in Bath and Bristol out of £15,338 has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and been disqualified from acting as director of a company for 10 years, following an investigation by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards team.

Craig Graydon aged 50 of Stothert Avenue, Bath, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on 23rd August 2022 after pleading guilty to fraud at Bath Magistrates Court at an earlier hearing on 14th July 2022.

Graydon offered his services in respect of building design, planning and construction and failed to deliver goods and provide services that he had been paid for in advance. Six customers lost a total of £15,338 as a result.

The court heard that Graydon committed one count of fraud by false representation under the Fraud Act 2006 between 2 August 2020 and 4 December 2020, as Graydon, the Director of Ashlar Renovations Ltd, was responsible for a fraud involving dishonest misrepresentations concerning the supply of a set of bifold doors.

Alan Fuller, prosecuting, said Graydon was sole director of companies Ashlar Renovations Limited and Ashlar Design and Build Limited. He told the court Graydon in 2013 signed an agreement with trading standards not to trade improperly and in 2016 had been prosecuted for an offence of fraud relating to his failure to supply bifold doors to a consumer, had again advertised bifold doors for sale online in August 2020.

Graydon agreed to supply a bifold door to the consumer within three weeks and Graydon was paid £2450 for the door.

After the delivery date had passed Graydon gave various excuses as to why the doors could not be delivered. After several months passed Graydon promised to repay the money to the consumer but never did. The court heard that Graydon never had the doors in his possession and never intended to purchase the doors for the consumers. 

Graydon committed further offences of carrying on a business for a fraudulent purpose contrary to the Companies Act 2006 and knowingly or recklessly contravening the requirements of professional diligence contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 as between 16 March 2021 and 29 May 2021, as the Director of Ashlar Design and Build Ltd, Graydon offered his services in respect of building design and construction. Graydon took numerous payments for goods and services from five further consumers and again failed to deliver the goods and provide services that he had been paid for in advance.

The court heard Graydon made false claims in respect of his qualifications to consumers, namely that he was an architect and had a BSc in construction management when in fact he had no such qualifications. Graydon also failed to keep timing schedules agreed with consumers, failed to refund monies and conducted himself in a confrontational manner when issues had arisen.

Judge Mark Horton jailed Graydon for 18 months and told him: "You have continued, for many years, to behave in an identical fashion knowing you were defrauding and causing a large number of people considerable grief and loss."

Katie Jenkins, defending, said her client was an alcoholic with health issues and drink was the root cause of the offending. She said a catalyst for his decline had been an attack on him and his partner in 2015. He also suffered the loss of his boxing promoter relative in Monaco and all this impacted on his mental health, Miss Jenkins said.

Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Planning and Licensing, said: “The victims in this case were all left thousands of pounds out of pocket. The conviction and sentencing in this case reiterates our ongoing pledge to bringing justice to individuals and companies that defraud the public. We are committed to helping keep people and their money safe from rogue traders.”

The trading standards team runs an approved trader scheme called Buy with Confidence where residents can search for local businesses which have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards.Visit or call 01225 396759.

Anyone who thinks they might have fallen victim to a rogue trader should report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Services who work in partnership with Bath & North East Somerset Trading Standards on 03454040506.

Before agreeing to any work, residents should:

  • Read reviews of traders and if possible use the Buy with Confidence Approved Trader Scheme.
  • Ask at least three approved traders for quotes.
  • Never pay up front and avoid cash.
  • Say no to doorstep sellers.
  • Always get a detailed written quotation/contract.
  • Check the builder’s references and even pay visits to the references.
  • Ask your neighbours, family or friends for personal recommendations of builders who have worked for them and carried out a good job.


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