Portsmouth rogue trader who left customers thousands of pounds out of pocket is jailed

A ROGUE trader who left customers thousands of pounds out of pocket after failing to finish jobs and delivering ‘appalling’ workmanship has been put behind bars.

By Steve Deeks
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 4:55 am

Portsmouth builder Sam Hart, 35, of Langley Road, lived a luxurious lifestyle, hiring sports cars while his customers were forced to pick up the pieces of his botched or non-existent work.

But justice finally caught up with Hart as he was locked up for nine months and disqualified from being a company director for five years after he pleaded guilty to numerous offences at Portsmouth Crown Court.

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Rogue trader Sam Hart. Pic Portsmouth City Council

Greedy Hart left a trail of devastation after he started trading as Mac and Hart Developments Ltd when he entered into a contract with Deborah Parish, of Lindley Avenue, in the summer of 2018.

Works were to include a loft extension rear dormer and a new single storey rear extension. However, they failed to comply with building regulations - with the pitch of the roof built at the wrong measurement resulting in the roof leaking via the pivot windows.

It left Ms Parish suffering significant financial loss, having to fork out £11,000 to fix the work.

She ended up selling the property at a loss as the pitch of the roof was never fixed.

Rogue Trader Sam Hart. Pic Portsmouth City Council

Hart then went on to form another company Harkins Construction Ltd. In January 2020 he agreed to the full refurbishment of a property in Fareham for the sum of £120,000.

But the works were never completed with Hart diverting funds paid by the couple of Walton Court to help with the liquidation of his previous company.

Hart also hired luxury cars including Mercedes and BMW vehicles.

The couple spent an additional £50,000 on top of the £120,000 already paid to get their property completed.

Rogue trader Sam Hart has been jailed. Pic Portsmouth City Council

Hart also claimed to be Gas Safe and NICEIC registered when neither he nor the company were.

Judge David Melville QC said: ‘The facts of this case are awful. It was a most appalling series of events. You let them down; this is appalling and clearly crosses the custody threshold.’

Councillor Dave Ashmore, member for community safety and environment, said: ‘Portsmouth City Council's Trading Standards will continue to investigate and pursue those responsible for unfair commercial practice, bringing them before the courts where necessary.

Rogue Trader Sam Hart. Pic Portsmouth City Council

‘This case sends out the clear message to “rogue traders” that this type of unlawful behaviour will not be tolerated in Portsmouth.’

Hart pleaded guilty to six offences contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, contravening the requirements of professional diligence, failing to provide cancellation notices to consumers, and for the unauthorised use of the Gas Safe and NICEIC logos.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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