7 April 2014

Rogue builder sentenced

 A roofer and builder who overcharged customers and delivered poor quality work has been handed a two year suspended prison sentence.

Mark Crist, also known as Marcus Crist, aged 27 years, of Winterbourne Lane, Lewes, faced nine charges of misleading consumers, aggressive practice and fraud at Lewes Crown Court on Friday 5th April 2014.

Mr Crist and his business partner Mr Jack Murphy, trading as ABC Roofline, were the subject of complaints from residents in Woodingdean and Portslade in 2011 and 2012.

Mr Murphy of Otterden Street, Catford, was sentenced in November 2012 after pleading guilty to six charges of misleading customers and fraud. Mr Crist did not attend court at this time and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Mr Crist was arrested in May 2013 and has appeared in court on a number of occasions since having pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

He subsequently changed his plea to all charges to one of guilty.   He was given a 2 year prison sentence which was suspended for 2 years with a requirement that he carries out 200 hours unpaid work in the next 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £3,487 compensation to one customer, £12,800 to another and ordered to pay the Council £2,500 court costs.

The Court also ordered that he be disqualified from being a Director of any company for 2 years.

Brighton & Hove City Council Trading Standards began investigating the case after a resident in Foredown Drive reported problems with a kitchen fitted by Mr Crist’s company. The kitchen had been sold on the doorstep for £9,817 and the customer was charged a further £1,920 for the ceiling to be refurbished.

A Trading Standards-approved electrician who checked the work said that it was well below the standard expected from a competent electrician. A representative from Howdens kitchen supplies said the kitchen was the most basic available and priced at around £1,500.

A further case emerged when a carer looking after a resident in Cowley Drive called Trading Standards concerned her client had asked her to help him apply for a loan of £6,000. The money helped pay for a car port put up by ABC Roofline. The car port collapsed in high winds. Another builder approved by Brighton & Hove Trading Standards inspected the work and reported that it was of poor quality and overpriced.

Evidence was also gathered from a chartered building surveyor who highlighted substantial faults in the design, execution and costs of both projects.

Councillor Pete West, Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “The combined efforts of Trading Standards and the police have ensured other vulnerable residents will not be put at risk by this man’s objectionable business practices.”