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Rogue paver like something out of the Cook Report'

PUBLISHED: 11:18 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:05 12 August 2010

A COUPLE who had their driveway dug up around their parked car hope that the conviction of the rogue trader responsible will raise awareness of doorstep crime. James Doherty, 40 of Pilgrims Lane, Essex, and an accomplice targeted households in Birkbeck R

A COUPLE who had their driveway dug up around their parked car hope that the conviction of the rogue trader responsible will raise awareness of doorstep crime.

James Doherty, 40 of Pilgrims Lane, Essex, and an accomplice targeted households in Birkbeck Road, Beckenham, last December, telling residents that they were working in the area and, as such, could offer cut-price repaving.

One victim was Matthew Warburton, 34, who lives in the road with his partner Jennie Cobb.

They were approached by the men at their home last December and, although they did show a little interest, made no agreement for the men to start work.

A few days later, the couple returned home from work to discover a team of pavers had removed their driveway, leaving their Audi A3 marooned on an island of concrete.

Mr Warburton said: "When we came back to see the car like that, it was a bit of a shock.

"I said that I wasn't interested and told the men to go but they just wouldn't take no for an answer. I took the next day off work to stop them doing any more work to the drive.

"It was annoying and we were angry, so we contacted Bromley council and the police responded straight away. It was like something from the Cook Report!"

Mr Warburton and his partner gathered evidence of work with the help of the police and the council, and Mr Doherty was arrested outside the house.

On May 26, Doherty was fined a total of £2,000, ordered to pay £1,500 for the damaged drive and £300 in costs, when he appeared at Bromley Magistrates Court.

Operating under the name Home Discount Paving, he pleaded guilty to three charges of aggressive and misleading commercial practise and one count of criminal damage.

Rob Vale, head of Bromley Trading Standards, said: "Doherty hassled consumers and caused them considerable stress which is unacceptable."

Mr Doherty told the court that he was an Irish Traveller and was not accustomed to English ways of working.

He insisted that he did not act maliciously, but had only previously worked in Ireland where a contract was sealed with a handshake and not with a written quote or paperwork.

In each case, according to the rogue paver, he was under the genuine impression that an agreement had been reached.

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