Episode 4 Dirty Tricks of the Tradesmen


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Episode 4

Hidden camera series where an an acting rogue tradesman tries to rip people off in their own homes using well-known con tricks to show us all how easy it can be to be taken in.


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Let's be honest, there's nothing more frustrating than when

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something goes wrong in your house. Last year, we spent a staggering

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�15 billion on house repairs. But how can we tell if we've got a good

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deal, or if we've been taken to the cleaners?

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How much? 22 5? Just for today �500 if it's cash. Probably about �7,500.

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We've been secretly filming up and down the UK and reveal how

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shockingly easy it could be for you, yes, you, to be duped. I'm afraid

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you've been ripped off, he's not a bona fide tradesman. He's not?

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I been done. I've been done... Maybe. And this is the bit I love.

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We expose the UK's most outrageous tradesmen rip offs. One of the

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worst conservatories I'd ever seen, needed pulling down and starting

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again. The house was a death trap. No other word for it - conned.

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Coming up, as our road tradesman met his match, a cautious consumer

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from Bedfordshire isn't falling for Roger's dirty tricks. That's all

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I've got. You're a tough fella, I'm not going to start a punch up with

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you. The astonishing tricks of a landscaper who conned a cautious

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homeowner out of �80,000. All the lies he told everybody, he needed a

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very good memory to do all of that. The lady who is nearly conned out

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of several hundred pounds. Burnt the cable, wish me luck. Stand by

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for dirty tricks of the tradesmen. Hello. I'm not a tradesman. I

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wouldn't know how to rewire a house, fit tiles on a roof or service a

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boiler. That's why we need professionals. The vast majority do

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a terrific job, but there is a minority who turn rogue. They can

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make our lives a misery. People from all over the country

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are telling us their shocking stories of being ripped off by the

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cowboys and many more are helping us to blow the secrets of the

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rogues by setting up their friends and family for a visit from our

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very own tradesman, all to show you how to avoid being taken for a ride.

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Meet Roger Bisby, with 40 years experience, there's little he

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doesn't know about the building game.

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If there's one thing he doesn't like, it's conmen, cashing in,

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using dirty tricks. But we are asking Roger to become a

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rogue, just for today. Why? Because if he shows us what the tricky

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tradesmen do, he can show us how not to get conned.

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We are setting up small property problems and sending Roger round to

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show us how easy it is to be tricked into unnecessary work. It's

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being filmed in secret and he's working with our cameraman Luke,

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who is pretending to be Roger's apprentice. We'll discover the

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location of their first sting in just a moment.

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Did you know, 4 faulty wiring is responsible for thousands of

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accidental house fires a year, so keeping our wiring in good nick is

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absolutely essential. Now, some rogues will use our fears about

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home safety to trick the unwary into unnecessary work. Charm is a

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32-year-old student from North London. She's asked us to set up

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Carla Johnson, her best friend since primary school, who lives

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nearby. She's telling Carla that she has a wiring problem and needs

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her to house sit while she pops out. I just said to her, there are some

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men coming round to sort something out in the kitchen, I've left some

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money, she needs to get a receipt and try not to use all the money up.

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Charm has left �100, but knowing our tricky tradesman Roger, I

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expect he'll soon relieve her of that, as he slips into his secret

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filming gear. He's planning a trick that involves the fuse box.

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exotic location today is North London where we've come to look at

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a suspicious smell around the fuse box. Luke, you've been shopping for

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a magic box? I've got a magic box containing tea bags. What we are

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going to do is pretend it's a filter that it will filter out the

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unevenness in the electricity supply. We won't even connect it up.

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I'll also introduce a bit of burnt wire. Hopefully that'll be enough

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to persuade the lady that she needs to have all this elaborate

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electronic equipment fitted. bags! Did I hear that correctly?

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Good luck with that one, Roger. Once in, he'll pretend there's a

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smell by the fuse box and while Luke keeps Carla busy, he'll plant

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some burpbts wire. Finally, Roger can install the magic box of tricks

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which he claims will keep Charm's house from burning down. When it

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comes to repairing fuse boxes, a typical cost is around �200. Some

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tradesmen may do the work on a no- fix no-fee basis, still we are

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talking about a deadly trix ter. It's 5 o'clock when Roger arrives,

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a little later than expected -- trickster. Hello. Hello, it's the

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electrician. Hiya. You all right? Fine, thank

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you. Sorry I kept you waiting. dear, Carla's fallen at the first

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hurdle and not asked to see any proof of identity. That's the

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kitchen. Fuse box. Do you want a bit of light on the subject. Do you

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want it on the other side? I'll get the ladder and we'll flip it round.

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So Roger is in and full of the joys of spring.

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Every house you go in, they have televisions on. Meanwhile, Roger's

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smoothie apprentice is telling Carla all about his weekend plans.

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It's a crazy place on a Saturday night. Belly top and shorts...

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exactly. Can't f can't believe it. Struggle

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up the stairs. Should have sent your apprentice. He's too busy

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using the tried and tested technique of gaining Carla's

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confidence. Luke. I don't want to trouble you, but any chance you

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could give me a hand. Sorry. I was just chatting. You're a nightmare.

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When I do it, Luke, it's called chatting up, when you do it it's

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called harassment, all right. soon before he springs trick one?

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There is a bit of a smell. I'm not being rude, but do you mind... Can

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I trouble you for a cup of tea? Nice cup of tea and nice

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distraction technique. Roger's cue to scarper and get what he needs

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for his next trick while Luke keeps Carla busy. You stay there. I've

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done all the heavy lifting. right. I've had a look, identified

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the colour of the wire inside the fuse box which is very important

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because I don't want to put the wrong colour wire in. Now I'm going

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to burn a bit of kainl up, insert that into the fuse box and show

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them the terrible result -- bit of cable. This trick is common. Conmen

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will create convincing props which they can plant at the scene. They

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can use them to invent problems where none exist, or to take a

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minor problem and make it seem more serious.

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The bigger the issue, the more they can charge to fix it, but Carla's

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only expecting to pay �100. We are ready to go. Burnt the cable. Wish

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me luck. It's nearly 5.20 and Roger has his second trick ready to roll.

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He's never certain how they'll unfold, but this one looks pretty

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devious to me. Press this button on the top one. OK, if you press it.

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He's answering the door as well now. All right Roger: You've moved in,

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you're answering the door now. We have a cup of tea? Lovely. He says

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if you made it or something. that a bit strong? Love strong tea.

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Anything you can stand a spoon up in. Nice cup of tea by the way.

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Very good. I mentioned it first, not you, oh, yes, a very nice cup

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of tea. Steady on! With great care, Roger places the burnt cable inside

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the fuse box and Carla has no idea it's happening.

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Right. What is going on here, is you're get ago spike across the

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power supply. Do you want to have a look at this or not? Interested in

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electrics? No. A bit of burnt cable up here. OK. It's quite honestly I

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should test every single one of the circuits, so I'll stick a box on it

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which will iron out the spikes, yes. If I don't do that then it could

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catch fire. So, if I do it now, I'll give you a nice discount

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because you are a nice person making nice tea. How much? �230.

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All in hrbgs including the box. real? Yes, for real. -- all in,

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including the box. For real, Roger. So, how will Carla handle this

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shocker? I'm sure that's OK. Oh, my God, I don't know... How will she

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react when she realises there's been a con. Really? Where's my

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money?! Where's my money?! Now, if Roger's fuse box antics

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seem hard to believe, they pail in comparison to the dangerous tricks

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played by real rogue electricians. In the next astonishing story from

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the West Midlands, the law caught up with a conman involved before

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his lethal wiring caused a serious accident.

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Wolverhampton is the home of a reck blst tradesman called Lee Norton.

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Over a decade he's picked up two prison sentences for the shocking

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tricks he's played on local home owners as Trading Standards officer

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Peter value vert recalls. Calvert. This trader is a serial

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offender. He's probably put the lives of up to 25 people at risk.

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The work was shoddy, people lost a lot of money and were lucky to

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escape without being injured. Lee Norton was notorious for using

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the gift of the gab to mislead his victims. Among them was mother of

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four Sharon Robinson. He put my kids in danger, ripped me

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off. I'm still so angry with him, I could kill him.

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In 2007, Sharon bought a new home for her family in Wolverhampton.

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She had big plans for creating a dream home and was excited about

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moving in, though she knew the house would need some renovation.

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bought the house in October 2007. It needed completely renovating,

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include ago rewire. I wanted it to be done as soon as possible.

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Someone recommended the electrician to me and I thought OK, he's

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available, he can do the work. You'd think that a personal

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recommendation would be a good way of finding a reliable tradesman,

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but Sharon was unlikely given Lee Norton's contact details.

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Little did she know that he wasn't a trained electrician, nor approved

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by any trades organisation. He concealed this from his clients

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and that was always his first dirty trick. My first impression of this

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electrician was that he had an attitude, he was ah gants --

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arrogant, very smarmy and I wouldn't like bumping into him on a

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dark alley. The kids' impression was literally the same my daughter

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didn't want him doing the work, but we needed it done as soon as

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possible and he was the electrician that was available. On the first

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meeting, we went through every room rbgs decided how many plug sockets,

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where the light switches were going and everything. Need add complete

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rewire. He just said he could do it stpraigt away and it would cost

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�2,000. -- straightaway. When he started, I didn't question any

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of his work, he said he was qualified. He promised I'd have a

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certificate at the end of it. I know nothing about electrics, so I

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just left him to carry on. Norton had caught out Sharon with

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another classic trick as he blinded her with science about what he

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could do. And she let him continue, hoping that family life would

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return to normal. Just as it cloocked like the work

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was coming to an end, he hit Sharon with another trick changing the

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goalposts of the work they'd agreed. Towards the end of the job being

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finished, he said he he wouldn't be back for a couple of days because

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he was going on holiday to New York and he needed the payment before he

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went for the work and that he'd be back when he came back from holiday

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to finish the work. So I paid him the �2,000, he gave me an

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electrical certificate which, at the time, I did think it was a

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genuine electrical certificate. there was no end to Norton's tricks.

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The certificate he gave Sharon was a forgery.

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After he'd came back off holiday because he was going for about four

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days I think, he didn't turn up to finish what he was supposed to

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finish and so I phoned him on numerous occasions and he never got

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back to me. When he wasn't returning my calls,

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I was getting really angry. person you are calling is unable to

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take your call... I thought, what can I do. So I got in touch with

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Trading Standards. At this point, Sharon just wanted

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the job finished for the �2,500 she'd agreed. When Trading

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Standards came to her aid, they discovered that Norton had done far

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more than rip her off, he'd spent the previous two weeks gradually

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turning her dream home into a death trap. Peter Calvert's come back to

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You can see the original boiler location. The wire that goes up

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into the ceiling, when the electrician pulled it, that came

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down. And that was live. It was live under my daughter's bed. She

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was 12 at the time. That is not good. You could have had a fire up

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there. Yeah, could have had a fire any time. Loose livewires weren't

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the only problem. The fuse box situated in the corner of the

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dining room was left uncovered. Norton's dangerous work could have

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proved fatal. There is a gap there where there should be four fuses.

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That is live. That's straight to the mains out through the wall.

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one of the children had of touched it, they would have had no chance.

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They could have been electrocuted. There was still more shocking news

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for mum, Sharon. Can you tell me what happened upstairs with the

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rewiring? Basically, they put the wires through joists. Then squashed

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the floorboards down. If you walk on that over time, you will start

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to get the cable heating up and it could have caused a fire. This was

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probably the worst job we had ever seen from this trader. The house

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was basically a deathtrap with lots of live wires left, lack of earth

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circuits and a danger that the wiring would overheat and cause a

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fire. As part of their case against Lee Norton, Peter's team at

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Wolverhampton Trading Standards sent in a surveyor to check the

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work at Sharon's home. The property had not been rewired in any valid

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sense of the word, installation was unsafe. The main dangers were risk

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of electric shock from unearthed sockets and lighting points and a

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risk of fire from overheating of cables. Both pose a threat to human

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life. The case was conclusive and Sharon was one of three victims

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whose case led to Lee Norton's conviction in 2009. We prosecuted

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for Trade Descriptions Act offences and one charge of fraud. He was

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imprisoned by the Crown Court for two years. He served 12 months

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inside and then had a year's licence. Unfortunately, offended on

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licence and got recalled for a month. After that, we had further

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complaints about unsafe electrical work and this time we went for an

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enforcement order under the Enterprise Act which bans him from

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carrying out shoddy work in the future. We haven't heard anything

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from him since. Sharon considers herself very lucky to have escaped

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without injury to herself or her children. But Norton has turned her

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life upside-down and left her seriously out-of-pocket. A total of

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�4,500 in all. Since Lee Norton's been here, I have had to have a lot

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more work done than originally needed doing. Because of the danger

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left, it has had to be rewired again. I have had to sell my car to

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fund it. Because it left me out-of- pocket by ripping me off. Worrying

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times for Sharon, but she has taken something from her traumatic

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experience. Not all electricians were available. Somebody did say to

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me that you learn later. The ones that are very busy are the ones

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that you should employ. We have another extraordinary story later,

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the Derbyshire woman ripped off to the tune of almost �80,000 by a

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conman who was only supposed to fit a new fence. Everything that I had

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worked for has gone. He's ruined my life. Plus, in our quest to show

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you how not to be ripped off, Roger plays more devious tricks on a

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consumer in Bedfordshire. Look, look at all this. There's a fair

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amount of old gunge in there one way or another. First, time to find

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out what Carla Johnson in London makes of our cowboy. She is house-

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sitting for Charm who has told her that the fuse box needs some work

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and she is expecting it to cost �100 to fix. �230. For real? Yeah,

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for real. Roger has burnt cables and is placing props to make the

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job seem larger. Now he wants to charge more than drubl. OK, I have

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put the piece of burnt cable in there. -- double. I have told her

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the house could burn down. I need to put in this magic box which will

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smooth everything out and make everything OK. She's not that happy

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about that. She thinks that is a lot of money, �230. We might give

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her a bit of discount. Let's see how we go. As a loyal house-sitter,

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Carla understandably wants to check in with her friend, Charm, who

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asked her to keep an eye on Roger in the first place. Charm is

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waiting around the corner with our production team. You all right?

:20:09.:20:19.
:20:19.:20:20.

Yeah. It's going to cost �230. my God. You are kidding me! What do

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they need to do? They have to put a box on to stop the spike in

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electricity. Tell him he has to do it. He can't leave the house

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without finishing that job. When they gave me a quote, they

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said it would be no more than �100. All right. All right, then. Bye.

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Bye. Bye. Some friend you are, Charm! So, Carla has �100 which

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Charm left but Roger wants �230. So her dilemma is where does the money

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come from? Her own pocket? I spoke to my friend. She said she spoke to

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your manager today, whoever it was, and he said it's not going to cost

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more than �100. He is an idiot. said it has to be sorted out.

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Otherwise it would be dangerous to leave it. I can do it for �100 cash

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but we will have to send an invoice for the rest of it. Yeah? That's -

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I'm sure that is OK. I don't know. Oh my God! Yeah. I would rather not

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invoice. Obviously, I have to put the 20% on top. The VAT, yeah?

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Carla is well and truly stuck here. Her friend Charm says the work must

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be done. Roger wants �100 now and the rest later plus VAT on top. The

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tradesman's insistence leaves her with very few options. She's only

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got �100. Mind you, �100, box with a piece of wire in it, there is

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nothing in it and we can be out of here. Nothing apart from tea bags!

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Easy money and with 40 minutes gone the third trick is ready to be

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sprung. I'm going to put this box in. Is it possible for you to leave

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a receipt? Yeah. One last-ditch -- in one last-ditch attempt to gain

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control, Carla demands a receipt. Roger is more than willing to

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oblige. His receipts are fake and therefore untraceable. It is going

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to be back on. There it is, trick three. Roger's magic power

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regulator box slots into place. Before he collects his �100 there

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is time for one extra con. Can he turn Carla's friendship with Charm

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to his advantage? How good a friend are you? If I had a friend, if

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anybody was my friend, they would give their last penny for me.

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don't have a last penny. OK. really won't budge. Roger's played

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the three tricks he planned in record time. Now it is time to

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collect the cash and go. �100? OK. That's all right. That's fine.

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That's lovely. OK. �100 cash for just one hour's work. Doing

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nothing! Roger's picked up around the same rate as a commercial pilot

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or a trainee solicitor. What's more, he will invoice for another �130.

:23:18.:23:28.
:23:28.:23:31.

Today, Carla Johnson did her friend a favour. She house-sat while a

:23:31.:23:34.

dodgy tradesman came to fit the fuse box. Roger's three tricks

:23:34.:23:39.

included fitting a useless power box, full of tea bags, and he

:23:39.:23:47.

walked away with �100. With Roger around the corner, it is time for

:23:47.:23:54.

our producer to step in and reveal the truth to Carla. We are doing

:23:54.:23:59.

some investigating in the area about people who are doing jobs

:24:00.:24:04.

that aren't very satisfactory, basically. OK. And who were coming

:24:04.:24:08.

in asking for quite a lot of money but not doing the work. That just

:24:08.:24:16.

happened to me. They just left. have been a victim of a scam.

:24:16.:24:26.
:24:26.:24:29.

LAUGHTER Really?! Why you got my dressing gown on? I was getting in

:24:29.:24:34.

the shower! I just believed everything that he was saying. I

:24:34.:24:38.

thought they were a couple of nice guys. They obviously knew what they

:24:38.:24:45.

were talking about. I let them get on with it. Where's my money?!

:24:45.:24:48.

can't believe this has happened. You never think it would happen to

:24:48.:24:53.

you and it has. This is a filter box. I put these in because they

:24:53.:24:59.

filter out the electricity... God! I always find tea bags - you

:24:59.:25:03.

can use filter coffee. I find tea bags better. Definitely learnt

:25:03.:25:07.

something. I would ask for a bit more information at the door first

:25:07.:25:14.

of all. Maybe ID badges. What company they are from. Yep. And

:25:14.:25:19.

what was the price given to you before we were half-way through the

:25:19.:25:26.

job? Thank you. I will have a better night out now! LAUGHTER

:25:26.:25:31.

Thanks for being such a great sport, Carla. What can we learn from her

:25:31.:25:36.

experience? First, always get at least three written quotes for a

:25:36.:25:42.

job. Second, do your best to check tradesmen's credentials. Don't ever

:25:42.:25:47.

be talked into accepting work on the spot. If a tradesman is pushing

:25:47.:25:56.

you like that, seriously, think twice. We are all frightened of

:25:56.:26:02.

shifty people knocking on our door. More than half of all bogus caller

:26:02.:26:06.

crimes in the UK are carried out by criminals who pretend to be from

:26:06.:26:14.

the water company. So please check their ID. Roger is up to more

:26:14.:26:18.

tricks in Bedfordshire. He's been called in by Harrison Goode who

:26:18.:26:23.

would like to set up his dad, Colin, a quality assessor for a car

:26:23.:26:27.

manufacturer. If they do come round, like electricians, he will always

:26:27.:26:31.

be there looking over their shoulder, seeing what is going on.

:26:31.:26:36.

He doesn't let them do their own thing. He likes to keep an eye on

:26:36.:26:42.

them. Mmm, Colin could be Roger's toughest challenge yet. Harrison's

:26:42.:26:45.

parents are due back from their holiday this very day. He's already

:26:45.:26:50.

told them a tall story about the kitchen sink being blocked and he's

:26:50.:26:53.

arranged for a plumbing friend of their neighbour to come around. I

:26:53.:27:00.

wonder how they will take to the sight of Roger in their kitchen.

:27:00.:27:03.

Our cowboy is keeping things simple. He will create evidence of a

:27:03.:27:07.

blockage using a big ball of grease. His second trick will be to

:27:07.:27:11.

overcharge Colin for cleaning it out. Finally, he will try to boost

:27:11.:27:16.

his income by selling Colin some pipe linings which he doesn't need.

:27:17.:27:21.

A callout charge for a plumber costs �50 so if Roger can make

:27:21.:27:29.

another �275 on top, it will be a massive profit. Roger and Luke pull

:27:29.:27:34.

up just after 2.00. Colin and Angela are only just in from the

:27:34.:27:37.

airport. This is the last thing they need. We got the right house?

:27:37.:27:43.

You come to look at the drain? I was away. My boys were here and

:27:43.:27:49.

said it backed up. Did you come last time? Yeah. I have just come

:27:49.:27:56.

home. It's managed to go away. It's running. Last time it was full up.

:27:56.:28:02.

OK. Could I have a quick look? through. Sure? Yeah. Colin seems

:28:02.:28:06.

very trusting. If it was me, I would be demanding to see their

:28:06.:28:12.

credentials, but no it is straight to the conservatory to assess the

:28:12.:28:21.

drainage pipes. I will run the old plunger down to see what happens.

:28:21.:28:27.

OK, we have had a look at the drain. It looks fairly OK. Nice fella. We

:28:27.:28:33.

will have a quick look to see if we can discover a big grease ball in

:28:33.:28:38.

his gully! We will add an ingredient to this. Makes it small

:28:38.:28:41.

like a washing machine. But will Roger be able to carry out his

:28:41.:28:46.

trick if Colin is going to watch his every move? First, he is going

:28:46.:28:53.

to lie and say that there is still a blockage. It is backing up a bit.

:28:53.:28:57.

Colin isn't being drawn in and he is watching Roger like a hawk.

:28:57.:29:07.
:29:07.:29:17.

Could he be suspicious about our I see. Oh I see what you are saying

:29:17.:29:23.

to me now. I understand. It's not been a problem really before.

:29:23.:29:30.

understand what you are saying. Blimey. Want me to get a new one?

:29:30.:29:35.

You don't miss a trick. I bet you will try and overcharge him for

:29:35.:29:39.

that, too! I have some good fixing tape for that. Normally I pull that

:29:39.:29:43.

out, take it in the garden and give it a wash. It must be frustrating

:29:43.:29:46.

for Roger to deal with such a capable consumer. He will have to

:29:47.:29:56.
:29:57.:30:04.

think of a rouse to give him time By getting Colin involved, Roger's

:30:04.:30:09.

managed to distract him from what he's doing. What line of business

:30:09.:30:19.
:30:19.:30:22.

do you work in? Yes, good old Luke, minutes to carry out his dirty

:30:22.:30:28.

trick. Unbelievable. But, it's not too long before Colin comes out to

:30:28.:30:35.

check what Roger's up to. Did you say you got no blockage at all with

:30:35.:30:42.

this one? None at all. It's all right is it? Oh, look. Loads in

:30:42.:30:46.

there. Do you see all that stuff coming out. That's all caked up in

:30:46.:30:49.

washing powder. Well done, Roger. At last, looks as if you have

:30:49.:30:52.

managed to get one over on Colin after all.

:30:52.:30:57.

How will Colin react though when Roger presents his bill.

:30:57.:31:03.

That's all I've got or nothing at all. And will our cow bicep Colin's

:31:03.:31:08.

ultimatum? You're a tough fella, I'm not going to start a punch-up

:31:08.:31:18.
:31:18.:31:19.

with you. -- cowboy. If conmen show up on

:31:19.:31:24.

your doorstep, it usually leads to mayhem. The rogue here though got

:31:24.:31:29.

his just desserts. The Derbyshire Dales seem far

:31:29.:31:34.

removed from the urban hunting grounds of double crossing

:31:34.:31:38.

tradesmen. But this countryside plays a key role in the dirty

:31:38.:31:43.

tricks by this Midlands rogue who got �200,000 before Derbyshire

:31:43.:31:47.

police caught up with him. It was DC Steven Fuller who finally felt

:31:47.:31:52.

his collar. We'd engage people who he'd known

:31:52.:31:57.

in the past, he'd often do landscaping work for them, he'd

:31:57.:32:02.

gain their confidence and he'd rip them off. Farrell's first trick,

:32:02.:32:08.

always to do a good job and use that as a means of returning to

:32:08.:32:15.

reek havoc later. One of his victims has agreed to share her

:32:15.:32:21.

story with us. She was traumatised so much that she wanted us to

:32:21.:32:27.

shield her. I was quite happy, paid him in cash and didn't expect to

:32:27.:32:32.

ever see him again. �300 for a job well done. Two years later, he came

:32:32.:32:37.

back and Denise agreed to pay him for a new driveway, but she wanted

:32:37.:32:41.

him to wait until he came out of hospital for an operation. Then she

:32:41.:32:44.

contracted MRSA and even as she battled serious illness, she found

:32:44.:32:49.

heshes on the receiving end of his dirty tricks -- she found herself.

:32:49.:32:54.

Started sending me a lot of texts, approximately seven a day. If I

:32:54.:33:00.

didn't respond to them, he'd have a text temper tantrum.

:33:00.:33:04.

O'Farrell said he wanted to runner rands for Denise, but while he kept

:33:04.:33:09.

hundred his charade of concern, he was planning to spring his most

:33:09.:33:15.

audacious trick -- run er rands. said he had a once in a lifetime

:33:15.:33:20.

opportunity to be able to purchase a small piece of land which he

:33:20.:33:24.

could develop. The idea he was keen to portray was that the land was a

:33:24.:33:26.

development opportunity, it was land that at the moment was vacant

:33:27.:33:30.

and there would be a profit available for the victims. They

:33:30.:33:34.

would ask him if they could come with him to look at the land and

:33:34.:33:37.

the developments, but he'd always stall them for find a reason why

:33:37.:33:43.

they couldn't two with him. That's because the land didn't

:33:43.:33:51.

exist. But O' Farrell tricked his victims with forged bank statements,

:33:52.:33:56.

to convince people like Denise to come up with the money. I gave him

:33:56.:34:02.

�3,000 and I thought, I'll go for this, it's risky, but then so

:34:02.:34:06.

investing in the stock market. whole thing was bogus. We have

:34:06.:34:10.

never found any evidence of this development project and never

:34:10.:34:15.

managed to identify the area that O' Farrell intended to develop.

:34:15.:34:20.

Denise had been completely taken in by his caring nature and

:34:20.:34:24.

persistency. It's only when he played his final and most

:34:24.:34:27.

astonishing trick that Denise suspected something might be amiss.

:34:27.:34:31.

He started saying he was falling in love with me and how did I feel

:34:31.:34:35.

about it, saying that he wanted to buy a house, maybe for him and me,

:34:35.:34:40.

and I started getting quite alarmed by that because I thought it was a

:34:40.:34:46.

very bizarre thing for a 40-year- old man toe be doing to -- man do

:34:46.:34:51.

be doing to a woman of my age. I thought he was mentally ill. Even

:34:51.:34:57.

though she doubted him, she still ended up paying him �78,600 for his

:34:57.:35:01.

bogus land scheme. She only suspected her error when he became

:35:01.:35:05.

evasive and demanded even more money.

:35:05.:35:11.

I started asking for a meeting with his solicitor because I'd had text

:35:11.:35:16.

messages from his solicitor when actually they were text messages

:35:16.:35:20.

from O' Farrell because he didn't have a solicitor, obviously. He

:35:20.:35:24.

then started talking about how he was being declared bankrupt and

:35:24.:35:28.

asking me to lend him more money to stave off the bankruptcy.

:35:28.:35:34.

What's more, while running rings around Denise, O' Farrell was

:35:34.:35:38.

playing the same trick on 20 other people. Amazingly, he pocketed more

:35:38.:35:43.

than �200,000 in the course of just six months. It wasn't long before

:35:43.:35:49.

the victims started complaining to Derbyshire Police. To be able to

:35:49.:35:53.

carry off a fraud like this over a prolonged period of time, to be

:35:53.:35:55.

able to engage each of the different victims, to be automobile

:35:55.:35:59.

to remember all the lies he told everybody, you needed a very good

:35:59.:36:06.

memory to be able to do that. O' Farrell was convicted February

:36:06.:36:10.

2011 of fraud and sentenced to six years eight months. Unfortunately

:36:10.:36:14.

for the victims who simply wanted new fences and driveways, it's

:36:14.:36:16.

unlikely they'll see their money again.

:36:16.:36:23.

There's no chance of getting any compensation from anywhere and I

:36:23.:36:27.

had worked extremely hard throughout my life. The money's

:36:27.:36:31.

gone. He's absolutely ruined my life. Denise regrets not being more

:36:31.:36:36.

vigilant and wishes she tried harder to check his background and

:36:36.:36:39.

gather evidence of his land scheme to investigate.

:36:39.:36:43.

He'd always took the documents away with him and kept them very firmly

:36:43.:36:47.

in his hands. I saw the building plans, the letter from the bank and

:36:47.:36:52.

they were the only ones I actually saw.

:36:52.:36:55.

Anybody can fall victim to fraud. If it does happen, then that person

:36:55.:37:00.

shouldn't feel ashamed because we've done nothing wrong. We are

:37:00.:37:05.

the victims. Our thanks to Denise for sharing

:37:05.:37:10.

that and remember, it's always gost use a written contract with

:37:10.:37:18.

tradesmen as it will offer you protection if anything wrotes wrong.

:37:18.:37:23.

What about Roger? He's been called in by Roger's son Harrison using

:37:23.:37:30.

the excuse that the sink was blocked. Roger's out of his sight.

:37:30.:37:35.

What line of business do you work in? I work at... Without a timely

:37:35.:37:40.

distraction from Luke, he wouldn't have been able to plant his prop

:37:40.:37:46.

blockage. Oh, here you are, look. With the gunk in place, Roger has

:37:46.:37:51.

dragged it out in front of Colin as evidence to justify his visit and

:37:51.:37:56.

of course his fee. Look at all this, look. A fair

:37:56.:38:06.

amount of gunge in there really, one way or another. Oh, dear.

:38:06.:38:11.

Roger's efforts appear to have been in vain. Will he have any more luck

:38:11.:38:19.

trying another trick here? Getting Colin to go for a bigger job.

:38:19.:38:23.

don't think it needs relining or anything like that? It's fine. You

:38:23.:38:30.

want to save your money. Colin is having none of it and is ewhen even

:38:30.:38:40.
:38:40.:38:44.

questioning the need for his call Yeah. That's all right. So

:38:44.:38:49.

basically you are saying you didn't really want me in the first place.

:38:49.:38:55.

You got saddled with me? When I come home and Jake wasn't here, the

:38:55.:38:59.

drain's not blocked, I didn't have a contact number or anything.

:38:59.:39:03.

would have said don't bother and we could have gone on to the next job.

:39:03.:39:09.

Fairness. Yes. All right. OK. happy just to leave it.

:39:09.:39:13.

How will he react to the money Roger wants for this non-existent

:39:13.:39:22.

job? We'll call it the call out for the job, yes, which is �175 cash.

:39:22.:39:32.
:39:32.:39:36.

I said to you at the door, it's fine, you wanted to come in and

:39:36.:39:41.

have a look. We were here by then. Today, Colin let a tricky tradesman

:39:41.:39:45.

into his house, he kept a close watch on everything Roger did. But

:39:45.:39:51.

our rogue still planted a fake grease ball in the drain. Now he's

:39:51.:39:55.

demanding �175 cash for the call out fee. Colin's been a very on the

:39:55.:40:05.
:40:05.:40:10.

So, not exactly the �175 Roger was hoping for. It's up to you. Take it

:40:10.:40:15.

and that's it. How about splitting the difference, �100? Honestly,

:40:15.:40:18.

that's all I've got or nothing at all because I wasn't willing to let

:40:18.:40:24.

you in the door to start with, but you insisted so take your money.

:40:24.:40:28.

you're a tough fella. I'd rather get some more money out of you but

:40:28.:40:33.

I'm not going to start a punch-up with you. You're an ice hockey guy

:40:33.:40:36.

so you look a bit better built than me. We were hoping it might be a

:40:36.:40:39.

bigger job. We always live in hope. Fair enough, I don't want to fall

:40:39.:40:44.

out with you, mate, so I'll just have to take that and cry, really.

:40:44.:40:49.

We'll go on to our next job, better get on with it and not waste any

:40:49.:40:53.

more time. Fair enough mate, cheers. This consumer saw through all the

:40:53.:40:59.

tricks and refused to budge an inch. A great example to us all. Well

:40:59.:41:04.

built. A big lad. With Roger off site, it's time for our producer to

:41:04.:41:14.
:41:14.:41:17.

visit Colin and put him in the picture about dirty tricks. Sorry

:41:17.:41:20.

to bother you. We have been chatting to some of your neighbours

:41:20.:41:25.

in the street about the fact that whether they've had any experiences

:41:25.:41:29.

with people like painters, electricians, plumbers. Is that

:41:29.:41:32.

relevant to you? I don't know whether this is psychic because I

:41:32.:41:37.

just had a couple of gentlemen looking at my plumbing just about

:41:37.:41:41.

two minutes ago. I told him to leave. I knew there was something

:41:41.:41:46.

suspicious from the start, the way he was acting and trying to create

:41:46.:41:51.

a job. I'm not stupid. Let's see how Colin reacts to the

:41:51.:41:59.

news his son Harrison set him up. Has he?! Are you serious, hey

:41:59.:42:04.

reason son? You are out of order. I knew there was a scam going on

:42:04.:42:08.

about trying to drag out the time to make the job last a lot longer

:42:08.:42:13.

than it should have done. How could you do that to me?! Whatever he was

:42:13.:42:21.

doing, it seemed to be taking longer, I could have done it

:42:21.:42:26.

quicker myself. Why did you give me so little money. Were you in on

:42:26.:42:30.

this as well? Oh, my days! Make sure you know what they are going

:42:31.:42:34.

to be looking at and what the charges will be before they get in

:42:34.:42:37.

the door. If you are phoning them, make sure you understand that at

:42:37.:42:41.

the start of the conversation. not going to charge you for the

:42:41.:42:45.

pipe because you said to me, don't do it, I'll do it myself so fair

:42:45.:42:49.

enough. I tried to badger you into the job and you wouldn't have it.

:42:49.:42:55.

No. You kept trying to create work and I thought, what's he doing,

:42:55.:42:58.

told him there was nothing wrong, happy to fix it myself. I think I'm

:42:58.:43:02.

losing my charm. Always watch the people doing the work and if you

:43:02.:43:05.

don't think they're doing anything, say to them, sometimes you know

:43:05.:43:09.

when things aren't right. Colin, you're a real star. You can

:43:09.:43:13.

An audacious hidden camera series with Chris Hollins. An acting rogue tradesman tries to rip people off in their own homes using well-known con tricks to show us all how easy it can be to be taken in.

The last thing Colin from Bedfordshire needs when he flies home from holiday is a blocked pipe in his conservatory, particularly when the blockage was faked by our pretend rogue plumber. Will Roger get the better of this cautious consumer when he removes the lump of grease? Elsewhere, will sparks fly when he tries to con house-sitter Carla over a new wiring job?

Plus, a feature on the Derbyshire landscaper whose devious tricks enabled him to pocket more than 200,000 pounds from his twenty victims.