Three Herne Bay residents ripped off by a rogue trader may get compensation for the botched jobs on their driveways. All of them had fallen victim to fraudster Hughie Smith and his company Millstone Driveways. Now the 41-year-old boss and his company have admitted seven charges of fraud and engaging in a commercial practice “by a misleading action” which means tricking his way into getting orders for driveways. Sentence was adjourned at Canterbury Crown Court until June to give Smith the chance to raise the £7,000 he has admitted ripping off. Prosecutor Alison Ginn told Judge Nigel Van Der Bijl that among the victims were an 89-year-old pensioner and two others aged in their 60s and 70s.
Smith, from Chertsey, in Surrey, admitted getting a £2,700 contract with Sidney Richford at his home in Fairacres Close, Herne Bay in 2013, claiming his company was a member of Checkatrade and had worked with Brett Landscaping. The victim was assured that Millstone Driveways was a bona fide business and would carry out work on the drive to a high standard. Instead the work was substandard, the court heard. Andrew Russell, 63, who lives in the same street, also fell victim and agreed a quote for £3,100 for similar work. And a third Victim, 73-year-old Patricia Bright, from Highfields Avenue, also found Smith’s cowboy firm to be a millstone round her neck after agreeing for work to be carried out which turned out to be valueless. Judge Van Der Bijl agreed to postpone sentence after hearing Smith was actively trying to raise the £7,000 compensation. He was granted bail after admitting four frauds and three offences of making misleading statements to obtain work. Guilty pleas on behalf of Smith’s company were entered by his barrister Zaki Hashmi.
Herne Bay Gazette, April 16th 2015