Norwich businessman given three year criminal behaviour order for fraud
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A Norwich businessman has been handed a three year criminal behaviour order and ordered to repay more than £13,000 after defrauding customers out of deposits.
Peter Bradley, 59 and of Fishergate, had been running online business Find an Engine UK, promising to deliver engines for motor vehicles to customers.
But between December 2016 and January of this year, his customers found themselves chasing Bradley for months. They would pay a deposit of hundreds of pounds, but the products would never arrive.
At an earlier hearing Bradley admitted one count of fraudulent business and another of breaching consumer protection law. He has since asked for three further similar counts to be taken into consideration.
At Norwich Magistrates Court on Wednesday Bradley was ordered to pay court costs of £6,834.90 and £6,360 of compensation to his 14 victims. He was also given a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Victoria Jempson, prosecuting on behalf of Trading Standards, said: “Various representations were made by Mr Bradley through the course of his dealings with customers as to the delays. He would say engines had been dispatched and further payment on some occasions was requested after that. Engines had not been dispatched at all, or even received. None of the customers who have given evidence in these proceedings received an engine or a refund from Mr Bradley.”
The offences began just two months after Bradley had been handed a caution by Trading Standards, in September 2016. Even after he was issued a court summons, in November last year, he continued defrauding customers.
Ms Jempson asked for a criminal behaviour order which would not prevent him trading but “sets down requirements so he operates in an appropriate way and safeguards payments”.
Dave Foulkes, mitigating for Bradley, said he was “at some point operating his business with at least some intention of supplying engine for customers”.
“This was not a business which was wholly dishonest from the outset,” Mr Foulkes added. “The proceeds of his offending appear not to have been sufficient to have funded a luxurious lifestyle. Mr Bradley was a man in debt, struggling to manage his finances. That seems to have been the motivation for his behaviour.”
Chair of the bench Chris Bowles told Bradley he had defrauded “potentially vulnerable victims”, but his prison sentence would be suspended so he could repay them in full.
“We are not taking away your liberty so you can go away and find a job,” he said. “You can make reparations for all the things you have caused.”