Beautician avoids jail by “hair’s breadth”

Trading standards Published: Wednesday, 26th September 2018

A Warrington beautician was handed a suspended jail sentence after an investigation by Warrington Borough Council trading standards.

Ainsley McKenzie, 32, of Viscount Road, Padgate, was sentenced to a one-year custodial sentence suspended for two years. She had admitted two charges of falsely claiming that her semi-permanent make-up course was approved by the Federation of Holistic Therapists and the Guild of Professional Beauty Therapists.

Miss McKenzie was the director of Aspire Beauty School Ltd and Aspire Cosmetic School Ltd of 630 Birchwood Boulevard. A customer in Bath had read the statements on the company website in February 2016, and paid £5,899 to attend the training course. Warrington Trading Standards were made aware of problems with the course in April 2016 and an investigation led to Ms McKenzie pleading guilty to Fraud Act charges.

When sentencing Miss McKenzie, Recorder Mathieson referred to the company being set up to make money with a gloss of fake accreditations and said that she had missed an immediate custodial sentence by a “hair’s breadth”.

Miss McKenzie appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on 18 September where she was also ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work, pay compensation to the victim of £5,599 and a victim surcharge of £180.  She was also disqualified from being a director of a company for 10 years. Recorder Mathieson imposed the punishment as although she had made it plain she was a skilled beautician, he deemed her “totally incapable of running a company”.

Cllr Judith Guthrie, executive board member for public protection, said: “Unscrupulous business people attempt to legitimise their services by claiming membership of trade bodies when they are not. Thankfully, in this case, the hard work of our officers has resulted in the victim getting her money back.

“Residents need to ensure they make their own checks before they commit to large sums of money to goods or services. If you have any concerns contact the trade body directly or call the Citizens Advice helpline on 03454 04 05 06."