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11 February 2012, 08:00
A builder who left customers tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket for unfinished work has appeared in court.
Mark Tatham, 50, of Dark Lane, Cheshunt, has been ordered to do 240 hours community service and been banned from running a company for eight years after admitting 14 counts of breaching trading standard regulations between May 2008 and August 2010 at St Albans Crown Court.
Many of his customers in St Albans, Royston, Berkhamsted, Welwyn Garden City, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes had saved up or borrowed money to have building work carried out on their homes.
Tatham got 14 customers to hand over nearly £120,000 for work that wasn't completed and then they had to pay an extra £61,000 to clear up the mess he had caused.
He had run Multi Trade Herts Limited and 3D Visual and ended up being investigated by Hertfordshire Trading Standards after they received several complaints.
After the case Hertfordshire County Councillor Richard Thake said: 'I hope the penalties serve as a warning to other builders. Rogue traders cause nothing but misery for their unfortunate victims and damage the reputation of honest builders. The action taken by the court reflects the seriousness of the offences committed.'