AN electrical goods supplier and repairer fobbed off customers who paid him for white goods, a court heard.

It was only the threat of a possible prison sentence that had the desired effect of forcing Richard Andreas Allsopp to recompense his out of pocket customers.

Allsopp admitted ten commercial practice offences brought by Durham County Council after trading standards investigated complaints by ten customers, owed collectively almost £10,500.

But, at the hearing at Durham Crown Court in June, sentence was adjourned for three months to enable the 39-year-old defendant, of The Cottages, Rushyford, to attempt to pay back the money.

Allsopp, who runs A&R Electrics, on Shildon’s Dabble Duck Industrial Estate, returned to court having virtually met the target figure.

Stephen Constantine, for Allsopp, said only one customer is still owed money, but that was only because the defendant did not have his bank details.

Mr Constantine added that now having those details that last £579 can be re-paid within a fortnight.

Sam Faulks, prosecuting, said that customer first contacted Allsopp in January, 2016, but did not get his sought after fridge freezer until just before Christmas.

That was only after he paid the suppliers directly, having already paid Allsopp.

Mr Faulks said it was an example of how the “victims”, mostly in County Durham, but one each in North Yorkshire and Northumberland, were “left in limbo”.

Mr Constantine said the failings involved Allsopp’s professional diligence, but were not fraudulent.

He added that it was down to cash flow problems, now being rectified through an upturn in business.

Recorder Atherton said the business practices seemed “haphazard”.

He passed a 12-month community order during which Allsopp must perform 80 hours’ unpaid work, attend 15-Probation activity days and pay £3,000 costs.

Allsopp, who now intends to run the company as a sole trader, was also disqualified as a company director for five years.