VIDEO: Trading standards officers welcome builder’s jail term

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Trading standards officers have welcomed the longest sentence ever handed out for a trading standards prosecution in the county.

Alan Fitzgerald was jailed for six years at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, doubling the previous record for a case brought by Northamptonshire’s trading standards team.

John Vincent from Northamptonshire Trading Standards

John Vincent from Northamptonshire Trading Standards

Officers said the sentence, for two counts of fraudulent trading, was the longest ever in Northamptonshire.

John Vincent, divisional manager for Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards team, said: “The sentence, we believe, reflects the seriousness of the offences and the fact that there were numerous victims involved and that many of them were targeted because they were vulnerable.

“This is the longest prison sentence ever imposed for a matter prosecuted by Northamptonshire Trading Standards.”

Mr Vincent said Fitzgerald would target victims through cold calling, telling them they needed work doing on their homes, often falsely.

He added: “At times he was just calling and offering to do work, then once he had secured the work he would follow it up with a fairly predictable pattern of obtaining cash up front.

“The average age of the victims was more than 70 years old and, in one case, Mr Fitzgerald targeted a 94-year-old with what we considered to be a disgraceful lie to obtain work from her.”