Rogue trader faces jail after string of frauds

John Hargadon, 49, of Cross Skelton Street, Colne, has admitted six counts of fraud and consumer offences
John Hargadon, 49, of Cross Skelton Street, Colne, has admitted six counts of fraud and consumer offences

A seemingly charming rogue trader has been exposed as a fraud who tricked people into believing he was an honest tradesman.

John Hargadon, 49, now faces jail after admitting a string of frauds in which he used all the tricks in the book, including showing fake kitemarks for ‘safe trader’ schemes, showing pictures of work he had not done and high-pressure doorstop selling.

The repeat offender conned people in Goosnargh, Barton and Houghton out of thousands of pounds.

Hargadon, of Cross Skelton Street, Colne admits six offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. They include using a trade association logo of which he wasn’t a member, falsely laying claim to work he had not done, falsely denying his identity and making false claims about the work he had done or would do.

Preston magistrates heard Hargadon appeared charming but was described as “aggressive”.

A Goosnargh homeowner has spoken of his despair after Hargadon conned him out of £4,000 for shoddy work he never actually finished. Hargadon approached the school worker and his wife, a nurse in September claiming he had noticed their “driveway was looking a bit tired” and said he could resurface it for £5,000.

He did not do the work they had asked for and growth from a previous flowerbed has cracked through the thin layer of asphalt he laid.

The couple confronted Hargadon after finding a previous news article about his offending, only for him to persuade them it was his “nephew” and he then took them to driveways nearby which he claimed he had done, but had not.

“He stated there was a 10 year guarantee so if there were any problems he would correct them, and he would ensure it was correct and wouldn’t expect payment until we were happy, said the man. “We shook hands on it and we began to discuss the cost.”

But before the work was finished Hargadon was pressuring for payments and nearly £4,000 was transferred.

The botched job has left water running back towards the house when it rains. Prosecuting for Lancashire Trading Standards, Nick McNamara said: “Although her mind had been put partly at rest by what she had seen, she told Hargadon that she still wanted time to think about things before committing to such a large job.

“Unfortunately, Hargadon was not for leaving until he had an immediate ‘yes’ and she would tell you that he instantly became pestering and hectoring, to such a degree that she uses the word ‘aggressive’ to describe his behaviour. Such was his persistence that she signed away her cancellation rights.”