Doorstep trader ordered to pay more than £30,000 to victims

A doorstep trader who swindled two Chester residents out of thousands of pounds has to pay more than £30,000 compensation to his victims.

A confiscation order of £31,935 has been made against Christopher Heron, 27, following a Proceeds of Crime application by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

He has three months to make the payments or he will face a prison sentence of a further five years.

Heron was jailed for five years in June 2014 for grossly overcharging for building work and is currently serving his sentence at Maidstone Prison.

Operating under the name of Everest Maintenance Ltd, he took more than £23,000 from his victims, including a man from Upton and a woman from Sealand, in September 2013.

Heron had charged his Upton victim £14,000 for garage roof repairs, which were valued at just £2,550 by a chartered surveyor who carried out an inspection at the request of the council’s Trading Standards officers.

The second victim, in Sealand, paid Heron £9,500 for exterior painting and repairs to pebble dash but the work had been the subject of an initial examination by a chartered surveyor and rated as ‘grossly over-valued’.

As a result of Trading Standards’ investigation in Chester, Kingston upon Thames Trading Standards was notified of a third case involving a man in Chessington, in Surrey, who was quoted almost £95,000 for work on his home.

The £31,935 confiscation order, which was made at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday, May 10, will be divided into £22,673.85 for the Surrey victim, £5,428.95 for the man in Upton and £3,832.20 for the woman in Sealand.

Councillor David Armstrong, Cabinet Member for Legal and Finance, said: “This is a good result for the victims and sends the message out to potential criminals that we, as a prosecuting authority, will go after them and take their ill-gotten gains, no matter how long it takes.

“Cheshire West and Chester Council aims to make sure our residents feel safe and protected.

“Winning compensation for the residents who were victims of Heron’s actions is money well spent by the council.”