‘Aggressive’ tree surgeons convicted

Two rogue tree surgeons who harassed a North Yorkshire resident into paying for unauthorised gardening work have been convicted at York Crown Court following a successful prosecution by North Yorkshire County Council’s trading standards officers.

Stenie Wilson and Frank Foy Lowther, both of Long Street, Thirsk, were found guilty of two offences of engaging in aggressive trading practices.

The court heard Lowther and Wilson knocked at the door of a Scarborough resident in November 2010, offering to provide a written quote for gardening work.

The man, who had just finished a night shift, agreed to this and closed the door to return to sleep. Several minutes later he heard a noise like a chainsaw and found the two men in his rear garden chopping down trees.

The resident had not authorised the work and the men then asked for payment. Lowther became insistent and said the victim should go to the bank to pay them £1,800.

The two men then accompanied him to the bank, where he withdrew £750. They then told him they would return for the rest of the money. The victim reported the matter to the police, who then informed trading standards.

Three days later, the traders returned The victim did not answer the door, but waited for the men to leave before he went to report the matter again to the police.

Having visited the police station, the victim returned to his car in Scarborough town centre. He was then approached by the traders again who wanted him to go to the bank to get further payment for them. He went to the bank, with the traders following him and reported the men to the police for a third time.

Both men were ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, and each was ordered to pay £375 compensation to the victim.

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s executive member for Trading Standards said:

“These men carried out work the victim hadn’t even agreed to. They then insisted on payment in an intimidating and aggressive manner, even going so far as to accompany him to the bank. They then approached him again on a separate occasion demanding further payment. These are not the acts of genuine traders and these aggressive and intimidating trading practices will not be tolerated in North Yorkshire”.