James Lake, Prosecuting Counsel for West Yorkshire Trading Standards (WYTS) and Derek Hallam of Henry Hyams Solicitors secure the longest sentence known for a WYTS case of this nature.
An investigation into the workmanship of Mr Morrison and Mr Towers revealed disturbing evidence. Lead sheets disclosed that nearly all the potential customers were ages 60 or above and were given derogatory descriptions such as ’85 years old, goes along with what’s said to her’. A text message thread between Towers and Morrison included a message about an 84-year-old customer with Alzheimer’s, saying, ‘She’s f****** gone, she keeps asking me who I am, I’ll feel tight if it sells, but I need the money’ and was followed with a photograph of the contract for £6,510 and a cheque that Morrison had written on the customer’s behalf.
The investigation into Mr Morrison and Mr Towers’ company’s poor workmanship – and failure to refund deposits – turned out to be the worst case of rogue trading that officers from West Yorkshire Trading Standards had ever come across.
One person broke their ankle after falling on the ‘anti-slip’ drive, and another customer said Morrison threatened to leave her drive unfinished if she didn’t pay immediately, in full. In total, 26 victims were so aggrieved that they volunteered witness statements.
Morrison and Towers were charged with offences under the Consumer Protection and Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and the Fraud Act 2006.
Guilty pleas were accepted from the defendant, Morrison and Towers on the first day of the trial at Leeds Crown Court.
During sentencing, prosecuting barrister James Lake told the Court: ‘The evidence demonstrates the unscrupulous, disreputable and persistent manner in which the defendants conducted their business. Rather than care to avoid entering into contracts with vulnerable and elderly people, Morrison and Towers sought out these people as customers, as they were easy targets’.
Morrison and Towers were sentenced to four years and three months’ imprisonment, with Judge James Spencer QC stating that the starting point for sentencing was five years, which was reduced by 15 per cent for their early plea.