Belfast Telegraph

Man tried to swindle pensioners over resurfacing of drive, court hears

By Paul Higgins

An alleged rogue trader has appeared in court accused of attempting to charge a pensioner £6,000 to resurface her drive.

Dean James Winder (26) confirmed that he understood the three charges against him at Newtownards Magistrates Court yesterday.

Winder, of no fixed address, faces single counts of fraud by false representation, engaging in misleading commercial practice and obstructing police between February 10 and 13 this year.

The alleged fraudster is accused of "providing false details and documentation of a company named Unique Style Driveways" at an address at Hightown Road, Newtownabbey.

The charge states this was done with the intention of gaining personally, or causing loss to the pensioner, and telling her that he would "tarmac and repair her driveway for a price which was changed on a number of times during the work being carried out".

A PSNI constable said he believed he could connect Winder to the offences.

He said police had objections to him being freed on bail as he comes from England originally, has no ties to Northern Ireland and "has been flagged for breaching bail" on other matters elsewhere in the UK.

The officer described how Trading Standards contacted the PSNI "to report that a pensioner and her partner had been taken advantage of" in that the work, which was supposed to cost £2,000, incrementally increased and progressed to cost £6,900.

Outlining how the couple had already handed over a £4,000 deposit, he told the court: "Trading Standards contacted the police, obviously concerns about the rogue trading aspect of it."

The officer added that when police went to the alleged victim's home, Winder was arrested in the driveway.

The court heard that while Winder claimed to be working as Unique Style Driveways from Newtownabbey, the registered address was in Blackburn and had only been registered with Companies House recently.

District Judge Mark Hamill adjourned the bail application until today. He said he wanted to hear more evidence as to the bona fides and previous work history of the company and what offences Winder was already on bail for.

Belfast Telegraph

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