Man charged to 16 months imprisonment following a guilty plea to an offence of money laundering.

Mark Wayne Elliott, 56, of Shaw Lane, Prescot, was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment on Friday 17 February at Liverpool Crown Court. This followed a guilty plea to an offence of money laundering, with £63,500 being the proceeds of crime connected to rogue building works carried at a property in Culcheth.

The case was brought by the council following a report to trading standards about the poor standard of work carried out at a resident’s home in Spring 2020.

The council’s trading standards team, assisted by a building industry expert witness, determined that roofing and building works carried out at the house ‘fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent contractor’, and that the level of workmanship was so poor that all works were required to be redone by professional trades people.

Officers were able to trace Mr Elliott via cheques he cashed in to his bank account, which had been written by the householder to pay for the building and roofing works at their property.

When Mr Elliott was interviewed by officers, he claimed not to have carried out the work only ‘cashing the cheque for men he knew from the pub’, claiming he only kept 10% of the value of cheques as his fee.

When presented with the building expert’s findings, Mr Elliot did admit that he carried out some of the building works at the house, but could provide no evidence of identity of the men from the pub who he claimed had carried out the rest of work.

In sentencing, the judge gave Mr Elliott credit for his early guilty plea and previous good conduct but, given the amount of money involved and significant financial and emotional impact these events had had on the householder, he imposed the immediate custodial sentence.

He also set a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation timetable to establish the whereabouts of any of the defendant’s assets that can be used as compensation for the householder, given the remedial works required. These enquires remain ongoing.

Cllr Hitesh Patel, cabinet member for environment, housing and public protection, said: “We will always take the strongest possible action against rogue builders and this criminal behaviour will not be tolerated.

“The actions of this individual caused real misery and hardship for the homeowner and we are hopeful that they will receive as much compensation as possible.

 “If you have had a similar experience and need to report a trading standards issue, you can find out more and report an incident on the council’s consumer advice page