Hoghton woman's warning after losing thousands to rogue trader John Hargadon

A woman who lost more than £7,000 to rogue trader John Hargadon has spoken of her ordeal as a new picture of him is released.

Hargadon, 54, of Collingwood Street, Colne, pleaded guilty to eight charges in total after a Lancashire Trading Standards probe and was jailed for 32 months last week.

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Irene Phillips, who lived in Gregson Lane, Hoghton, enlisted him to lay a new driveway and pull down an old conservatory at her former bungalow, after finding him referred to as a 'trusted trader' on a website.

One of Hargadon's victims took this image of him

She recalls: " John turned up and although he looked rough around the edge he had the gift of the gab.

"He continually applies gentle pressure. He keeps in contact with you by phone.

"I feel stupid because I agreed to transfer the first lot of money over for the drive when I wasn't there. But then, when I came back some days later and he should have done it, it hadn't been done.

"But he came and said he had been really ill, which I thought was weird because his workmen should have done it, but he was convincing."

She says Hargadon even tried to woo her, asking her to go for a drink and claiming he was divorced, but she refused.

Unknown to her and other victims he was already facing sentencing for rogue trading offences.

She says: " His workmen kept complaining he was not paying them money on time and providing rubbish or broken equipment.

"As time went by I refused to give him more money and my son took a final call from him in which he was asking for another £2,500.

"He had already had £7,300 off me. After that I never heard from him and I knew then I was going to have to take him on."

Irene went online and found a newspaper article about his previous offences.

She praised Lancashire Trading Standards which prosecuted Hargadon at court, but added: " The law is wrong, we are too slack on this sort of thing.

"He's taken a lot of money from a lot of people.

"It's an experience you have to put behind you, but that money I can never get back. And he'll do it again, for sure."

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