Darren Moore, 42, of Old Warren Farm, Wimbledon, traded as Darren Moore Garden Landscaping & DIY and operated across Suffolk. He first came to the attention of Trading Standards after a consumer complained of his poor work in April 2022.
An investigation was subsequently launched into Moore, during which statements were taken from eight witnesses who alleged that he had acted dishonestly by taking payment for his services but failing to complete the work. Collectively the witnesses paid over £10,800 to Moore, £2,900 of which was refunded to three of the customers, leaving the rest out of pocket by almost £8,000.
Concerns were also raised about the quality of work carried out by Moore, with an independent chartered surveyor concluding that these “fell well below an acceptable standard” and that “the amount paid by consumers for his work was completely excessive”.
In addition, Suffolk Trading Standards uncovered that Moore had failed to return all monies owed to creditors and acted dishonestly in his communications with customers.
At a hearing at Ipswich Magistrates Court yesterday (Monday, 22 May) Darren Moore pleaded guilty to carrying out garden landscaping work for a fraudulent purpose, contrary to Section 9 of the Fraud Act 2006, and will be sentenced in July.
Graham Crisp, Head of Suffolk Trading Standards, said:
“The actions of Darren Moore have caused financial loss and significant distress to his victims who placed their trust and good faith in him only to be let down and fed a web of lies about why he was unable to carry out the agreed work.
“Despite making almost £8,000 in ill-gotten gains from defrauding innocent people, Moore has not co-operated with our investigation leaving us with no choice but to seek a conviction due to the severity of his crimes.
“We are very grateful to the wronged consumers who brought his despicable behaviour to light; their bravery has stopped other people in Suffolk from suffering a similar fate at the hands of Moore and will see justice served.”
Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Public Health and Public Protection, added:
“I welcome yesterday’s outcome, which reflects the continued work of our Trading Standards team to help protect customers who are on the receiving end of unsatisfactory services or products.
“We are fortunate to have many legitimate traders in our county who don’t deserve to lose out on business to crooks such as Moore; and I hope that him reaping what he sows following his guilty plea will ensure a fairer playing field for Suffolk’s gardening industry.
“Consumers can also fight back against fraudulent traders by carrying out their research and reading trusted reviews before paying for any services.”
Anyone who believes they may have been the victim of a fraudulent or substandard trader should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.