George Austin

Rogue builder ordered to pay back £40,500 to vulnerable victims

Following a conviction obtained by Lancashire Trading Standards, where fraudulent roofer and builder George Austin was jailed for 10 months after scamming victims out of more than £50,000, Preston Crown court ruled on 28 July that he must use the equity in his house to pay back £40,500 of his bogus gains to the four victims involved.

The prosecution came about following an investigation into consumer complaints received by Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards Service. 

Austin, 37, from Lancaster, pleaded guilty at Crown Court in March 2023 to misleading consumers into agreeing to unnecessary and unfinished work. The case did not end there, since Lancashire Trading Standards had already started confiscation proceedings against Austin, in a bid to make him repay the losses suffered by his victims. The four witnesses were all retired, and included a recently bereaved woman, and a disabled man.  In one case, Austin took £25,000 for work that a surveyor said was worth no more than £300, then disappeared when his victim refused to give him a further £5,000; in another, he took £18,500 for work on a fibreglass roof to fix a leak: the work was poor, overcharged, and the leak had apparently not been touched; in another, he took money from a very ill man for a back door he never delivered; and he also tried to obtain £5,500 from a retired woman, claiming that a new re-roof was needed, when her existing roof was of excellent quality.

Speaking after the confiscation award, County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing at Lancashire County Council said: “This is another great result for our Trading Standards Team, and as well as seeing justice done, we are pleased that our efforts have provided more than £40,000 of financial recompense to Austin's victims in this case.

"Rogue traders cause financial and psychological distress to their victims and families, who lose their hard-earned savings for work that is unnecessary, poorly done or incomplete. This prosecution sends out a clear signal that rogue traders are not welcome in Lancashire, and that if you target our residents, our Trading Standards team will target you and you may lose your ill-gotten gains."

To report a rogue trader, contact the Trading Standards Service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. You are advised never to deal with cold callers, ask for and check references, and obtain quotes from a number of businesses to compare prices. The county council’s Lancashire Safe Trader scheme lists details of reputable traders in the area at website

Find out more about George Austin's 10-month conviction here: Judge slates roofer who "ripped off vulnerable pensioner" by more than £24,000 (