Bullying builder Patrick Doran, found guilty of aggressive practice at Leicester Crown Court
An unscrupulous builder masquerading as a master craftsman aggressively bullied retired customers.
Patrick Doran, trading as P & D Marshalls, boasted of being the "UK's number one" for block paving services and home improvements.
Despite his leaflets stating "Only quality counts", Doran's unhappy customers found his work was sub-standard.
The leaflet also bore a logo that falsely stated Doran was a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen.
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At Leicester Crown Court yesterday, the 22-year-old pleaded guilty to three counts of engaging in aggressive commercial practice against three pensioners, between January and November last year.
The unhappy customers included a retired man from Sapcote, who arranged to have a £2,500 driveway installed, but half-way through the work the defendant downed tools and demanded full payment in an intimidating manner, insisting he needed to buy materials.
The victim stood firm and refused pay up for what turned out to be a sub-standard job.
An 80-year-old man, also from Sapcote, was bullied and intimidated by Doran in relation to a £1,400 driveway.
When the victim did not want to pay for the unprofessional job, Doran produced a pick-axe and threatened to dig up the drive.
In the end, the pensioner paid £900 to the defendant.
Doran, of Gapton Hall Road, Great Yarmouth, admitted fraudulently representing to the second victim that he would be carrying out a competent job.
A 64-year-old woman from Earl Shilton originally agreed to have a £120 Tarmac path.
Doran then said more work was needed, costing about £600, and then demanded £320, which the woman refused.
When she offered a cheque for the agreed amount, he tried to insist on taking her to the bank to get cash.
Doran's defence counsel said he was still in "the business of driveways" and would be producing references from satisfied customers at the sentencing hearing on November 2.
Doran was released on bail for the preparation of a report.
The offence relating to aggressive commercial practice is relatively new and is designed to protect customers from unscrupulous selling techniques.
After the hearing, David Bull, head of Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards, said: "We will continue to bring prosecutions against those rogue traders that adopt these aggressive methods and mislead consumers."
The trading standards team advised people to be cautious when approached on their doorstep by traders, especially those offering home improvement work.
It said cold callers should not be allowed into the home and people should not agree to buy any goods and services on the doorstep.
Anyone with concerns about trading practices can call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0845 404 0506.
National block paving company Marshalls plc, of Huddersfield, has no connection with the defendant, who trades under a similar name.