Bristol

Paving firm boss Jim Coffey who targeted elderly jailed

Jim Coffey
Image caption Trading standards said the verdict represented a "substantial sentence"

The director of a South Gloucestershire-based paving company who deliberately targeted elderly and vulnerable customers has been jailed.

Jim Coffey, 34, who ran Interlock Drives, was also ordered to pay £15,000 costs and compensation of £5,795.

He was jailed after admitting charges under the Fraud Act and breaching consumer protection regulations.

Bristol Crown Court also disqualified Coffey for acting as a company director for 12 years.

On 5 May, Coffey, of Over Lane, Almondsbury, South Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty to four breaches of regulation 15(1) of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and two charges under section 1 and 12 of The Fraud Act 2006.

The court was told he had engaged in "aggressive commercial tactics and fraud, exerting undue influence" on potential customers.

He placed Interlock Drives Ltd into liquidation, claiming harassment from trading standards officials in an effort to avoid the full financial impact of proceedings against him, Bristol Crown Court was told.

'Huge penalty'

Sentencing Coffey to three years and four months, Judge David Ticehurst said he had "pressurised elderly and vulnerable potential customers and deliberately targeted them".

"It was no coincidence all his victims were all of a similar age," he told the court

He also said Coffey had continued with "unscrupulous activities" while trading standards' investigations were continuing.

Speaking outside court, Neil Derrick, from South Gloucestershire Trading Standards, said the verdict represented a "substantial sentence".

"It really does reflect the seriousness with which the courts look at rogue trading these days.

"It should stand as a signal to anybody considering becoming involved in rogue trading that there is a huge penalty if you do."

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