A DOORSTEP fishmonger who used illegal sales techniques to exploit consumers, netting nearly £8,500, has been spared jail.

Adam Brown, 30, from Chester-le-Street, travelled the country selling fish door-to-door, often to the elderly and vulnerable, using a variety of business names, including Shore to Door Fisheries, SSRS Fisheries, Scottish Coast Finest and Scottish Coast Fisheries.

He used a range of tactics to pressurise consumers into buying fish that they often did not want.

Brown would pass off frozen fish as fresh, deliver excessive quantities of fish before charging an extortionately high price, operate an erratic pricing structure to exploit victims’ vulnerability, obtain higher payments through a card machine without consumers realising by obscuring the total or tilting the card machine away from the consumer.

He was sentenced to a 20-week custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months, at Newcastle Crown Court and ordered to pay £2,624.70 in compensation, which will cover the monies lost by all seven victims involved in the case.

Brown has also been issued with a Criminal Behaviour Order that prohibits him from selling fish and making unsolicited calls at people’s homes for the next five years. and will have to complete 180 hours unpaid work.

Brown earlier pleaded guilty to one county of knowingly or recklessly engaged in commercial practices which contravened the requirements of professional diligence and materially distorted the economic behaviour of his customers.

The sentence follows an investigation by the National Trading Standards Regional Investigation Team.