Kitchen fitter fleeced customers out of thousands of pounds

RCA Home Designs flyer provided by Trading Standards
RCA Home Designs flyer provided by Trading Standards

A Horbury kitchen fitter fleeced customers out of thousands of pounds for home improvements he never intended to carry out.

Robert Cooper, 61, of RCA Home Designs, took deposits from unsuspecting householders – including several in Wakefield and Leeds – for bathrooms and kitchens that he then failed to fit.

According to Trading Standards his victims would receive a flyer through the door and then ring for a quote. If successful Cooper would ask for a significant deposit but the customer was then faced with a range of excuses as to why the work couldn’t be done.

This led to complaints to the service and police – and to a prosecution.

Cooper, who ran the business from his then home on School Lane, admitted fraud when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court on Monday.

He accepted carrying on a business, between June 2010 and January 2013, with intent to defraud creditors.

David Lodge, of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, speaking after the case said: “Although Cooper was operating a business that could have been viable he deliberately chose to defraud his customers by taking substantial deposits with no intention of carrying out any work.”

“Even when his customers tried to contact him to complain it made no difference.

“This case just goes to show that consumers need to be wary of responding to doorstep flyers and should make proper checks before handing over any money.”

Trading Standards started to receive complaints from his customers in 2011.

Many said they had responded to flyers through their doors and had been visited by Cooper, who took measurements and asked for a deposit.

But he would then produce a string of excuses about why he had failed to do the work within the agreed six to eight-week timescale.

According to Trading Standards his victims, who were spread across West and South Yorkshire, included three from Leeds and six in Wakefield.

They were anticipating a trial to begin on Monday but Cooper admitted his guilt.

The case was adjourned until October 24 for a pre-sentence report.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: “The fact I am adjourning for a report and granting bail is no indication of sentence.”

He bailed Cooper, now of Springwood Hall Gardens, Huddersfield, with conditions not to take any financial deposits for prospective work between now and sentence.

He was warned all sentencing options remained open.