Man sold static caravans in Tewkesbury to elderly people as retirement homes
A man has admitted misleading elderly people into buying static caravans in Tewkesbury.
Company director Robert Bull, 37, of Thetford, Norfolk, who traded under the name Cotswold Grange, has pleaded guilty to two charges of engaging in an unfair commercial practice under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
He led consumers to believe the homes in Tewkesbury were suitable for permanent occupation when planning permission was for temporary holiday accommodation only.
According to investigations carried out by Gloucestershire County Council's Trading Standards Service, the victims, who are in their 70s, sold their own houses to pay for the properties at the park home site thinking they were buying homes in which they could enjoy their retirement.
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The holiday homes are worth significantly less than park homes with planning permission for use as a permanent residence. The victims paid in the region of £140,000 for the caravans. The static caravans as holiday homes would normally sell for about £60,000.
On Friday Gloucester Crown Court imposed a fine of £8,000 with full costs and a victim surcharge.
Head of Trading Standards Eddie Coventry said: "This was a particularly callous example of a company exploiting people who simply wanted a home in which to spend their retirement.
"The victims are relieved that Mr Bull has now been prosecuted and hope this will prevent others suffering a similar deception."
County councillor and cabinet member for communities Will Windsor-Clive said: "Trading Standards teams have done a great job in collecting the evidence of this and ensuring a prosecution can go ahead.
"This case should be a lesson to anyone who thinks they can deceive consumers in a similar way – they won't get away with it."