A rogue builder who vanished after taking thousands of pounds from a customer for a shed and building materials that never came has been ordered to pay more than £6,000 in compensation.

James Christopher Gray, of Brentwood, Essex, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, May 2.

Gray was ordered to pay £6,573 in compensation and costs.

The court heard that back in 2016 he took thousands of pounds from his customer, claiming to need the money to buy a shed and slabs for work he was completing in their garden.

These items never appeared and, after a complaint and an investigation by Enfield Council Trading Officers, he was summoned to a court hearing in 2017, but he never showed up. He then seemed to disappear.

However, Gray was arrested on May 1 due to an unrelated matter and officers then discovered the outstanding warrant for his arrest.

When he appeared in court he faced the charges made back in 2016 and was ordered to pay £2,493.26 in costs and £4,080 in compensation.

Enfield Council’s cabinet member for licensing and regulatory services Cllr George Savva said: “You really can’t escape your past.

“Enfield Council’s trading standards officers and legal team will make sure residents get the justice they deserve even if it means a lengthy wait.”

Cllr Savva added: “I would urge anyone looking for a tradesperson to do as much research as possible to make sure you are purchasing a reputable and reliable service before handing over any money.”

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If you have concerns about rogue traders, speak to Citizens Advice Consumer Service. Visit their website at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/