Northern Ireland

Coleraine DJ: Bookings cancelled on wedding days

Coleraine Magistrates Court
Image caption Michael Stockman was found guilty at Coleraine Magistrates Court

A Northern Ireland DJ who cancelled bookings on the morning of weddings by falsely claiming his father had died has been convicted of theft.

Coleraine Magistrates Court heard that Michael Stockman, of Knockantern Green, Coleraine, took £800 from six customers before weddings or parties.

In all cases he failed to turn up, often sending his unwitting victims texts at short notice.

Stockman, 30, did not refund any of the money. He will be sentenced in July.

The Trading Standards Authorities (TSA) said in a statement that he "promised to deliver a service and failed to do this".

"His excuse for cancelling on four different occasions between the start of August 2012 and end of September that year was that his father had died the previous day or morning," the TSA said.

"Stockman continued to make bookings and take payments from his victims."

Convicted

The businessman, who traded as North West Discos, was found guilty at Coleraine Magistrates Court of nine theft offences.

The case was originally brought before a magistrate in December.

The defendant was convicted in his absence of the same nine theft offences, but the conviction was later set aside and the case reheard.

Stormont's Trading Standards Service investigated after receiving six complaints.

Each person paid Stockman to provide a DJ service at their weddings, parties or charity events.

He failed to do that or refund any of the money. In four cases he took cash after meeting them.

Michelle Craig, a spokeswoman for Trading Standards, said: "These cases show that Michael Stockman is a rogue trader who has taken £800 in cash from his victims.

"In addition, cancelling a booking on the morning of a wedding would cause immense stress, on what should be a happy occasion for the families concerned."

She added: "Any consumer considering engaging the services of a trader should always try to get a personal recommendation and only pay the minimum amount possible before the service is delivered."