Six people linked to Vance Miller’s Oldham-based Maple Mill kitchen business have been jailed for selling “unusable” and “mismatching” kitchen units on his behalf. They worked at the company between 2010 and 2015.
Miller (pictured) was the first person to receive an Office of Fair Trading ‘Stop Now’ order in 2002 for supplying a kitchen that was “not as advertised”, and was nicknamed “The Kitchen Gangster” after being featured in a 2004 BBC series.
He has a warrant out for his arrest for fraudulent online and print advertisements, which saw customers pay thousands of pounds for kitchens of inferior quality.
A Trading Standards investigation gathered complaints from 300 customers and found that Miller was selling cheaply made Chinese kitchens, which were falsely described as “last year’s B&Q”.
When customers tried to complain to the business, they said they were abused and called liars by the staff.
The defendants in the case described Miller as a “dictatorial personality, a man who could not be questioned – only obeyed”. The judge stated that this “can’t be used as an excuse for turning a blind eye” and described the quality of the kitchens as “effectively rubbish”.
Miller is currently believed to be in China or South-East Asia.
David Hourigan, described as Miller’s “right-hand man”, has been jailed for 18 months. Martin Sersen, who acted as an official front for Miller, received a sentence of 15 months.
Miller’s former girlfriend Nicola Brodie was responsible for placing adverts and has been jailed for a year.
Kitchen salesman Richard Brundrett and Miller’s PA Karen Stocks have both been sentenced to nine months. Finally, Matthew Leak, who posted numerous fake reviews online, has been jailed for four months.