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Felixstowe builder receives suspended prison sentence after fraudulent and unfair trading



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A Suffolk builder has been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay almost £28,000 in compensation for fraudulent and unfair trading.

Kevin Zizka, 56, of Coronation Drive, Felixstowe, operated across Suffolk under KHF Building & Landscaping Ltd.

However, complaints made to Suffolk Trading Standards regarding the dangerous nature of his work resulted in the authority launching an investigation.

The work was deemed dangerous and unsafe. Picture: Suffolk County Council
The work was deemed dangerous and unsafe. Picture: Suffolk County Council

Four victims contacted trading standards after paying thousands of pounds for substandard home improvements and electrical work.

A Felixstowe homeowner was charged over £17,000 for the removal of a chimney breast, installation of steel beams and a kitchen renovation, only for the 56-year-old to leave the job part way through.

The electrical work conducted on the property was found to be unsafe, with a potential risk of fire damage to users, following an inspection.

Part of the wall at one property was at risk of collapse. Picture: Suffolk County Council
Part of the wall at one property was at risk of collapse. Picture: Suffolk County Council

In a separate incident, Zizka was asked to install a kitchen and fit steel beams to a property in Ipswich.

However, she reported back that the work had caused her ceiling to drop, resulting in a gap between the ground and the first floor that had to be propped up. This was after he ignored the advice of structural engineers.

An inspection from an independent chartered surveyor found these posed serious safety concerns, prompting urgent works to prevent the risk of collapse.

Stuart Hughes, Senior Investigating Officer for Suffolk Trading Standards, said: “The homeowners in this case have endured considerable upset and upheaval from the mess that Kevin Zizka caused to their properties, as well as the frustration of trying to get him back to correct unsafe work.

Kevin Zizka, 56, of Coronation Drive, received a four month suspended prison sentence. Picture: Suffolk County Council
Kevin Zizka, 56, of Coronation Drive, received a four month suspended prison sentence. Picture: Suffolk County Council

“Rectifying his actions has been a stressful and costly process for the victims, who have had to find additional monies to fund repairs for work they had already paid for.

“There is no doubt that Mr Zizka let his customers down badly, after they trusted him to act with honesty and integrity. Instead of improving their homes, he left them in a worse state than before, lied to them and ran off with their money.”

In addition to the dangerous work Zizka carried out, he also fraudulently charged VAT to customers, despite not being VAT registered with HMRC.

At a court hearing earlier this year, Zizka plead guilty to one count of Fraudulent Trading under Section 993 of the Companies Act 2006, and two counts of commercial practice which contravened the requirements of professional diligence under regulation 8 of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

The 56-year-old was ordered to pay almost £28,000 in compensation to his victims. Picture: Suffolk County Council
The 56-year-old was ordered to pay almost £28,000 in compensation to his victims. Picture: Suffolk County Council

The 56-year-old was sentenced to four months per offence, to run concurrently, suspended for 18 months.

Suffolk Magistrates' Court ruled Zizka must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, participate in a rehabilitation activity requirement, as well as being disqualified from being a company director for five years.

He will also pay £27,841 in compensation to his victims, as well as £10,000 in costs.

Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Public Health and Public Protection, commented: “I welcome Friday’s outcome, which reflects the tireless work of our Trading Standards team to help protect consumers who are on the receiving end of unsafe services or products.

“The court ruling that Zizka should receive a suspended sentence, undertake a significant amount of unpaid work, and pay compensation to his victims sends a very clear message that there are severe consequences for carrying out substandard work or deliberately defrauding and misleading customers.

“We are fortunate to have many legitimate traders in our county who don’t deserve to lose out on business to crooks such as Zizka, and I hope that his sentencing will ensure a fairer playing field for the building industry.”