A pair of rogue traders who tried to con a pensioner out of £1,700 have been imprisoned following a successful prosecution by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Trading Standards team
.Working with South Wales Police, the Council prosecuted Thomas Doran and David McAllister for carrying out sub-standard repair work on a driveway at the Rhydyfelin home of a 78-year-old woman.
Calling themselves “UK Home Improvements”, the duo were seen distributing flyers in the area whilst also making doorstep visits to residents when they preyed on the vulnerable woman who lived alone.
They cold-called the elderly pensioner and promised to repair a patch of her tarmac driveway for a nominal sum. This escalated to include the relaying of the entire driveway and front path at the cost of £1,700.
Doran and MacAllister returned with others to carry out further works to the driveway, but in the meantime their behaviour had been witnessed by a local PCSO who alerted Trading Standards to his concerns.
South Wales Police and Trading Standards acted immediately on the information they were given and visited the property where they promptly arrested the pair.
Further to obtaining an experts report on the work, it was found that this was exceptionally poor and below industry accepted standards. At the time of the report, it was also confirmed that the tarmac was showing signs of premature failure and that there would be costs associated with the necessary remedial works.
Doran, aged 37, of Claude Road, Roath in Cardiff pleaded guilty at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court to charges of fraud and under the Consumer Protection Regulations for not exercising the required level of professional diligence expected in the work.
In court his defence solicitor said that his client was not aware that the work was of such a poor quality, but he accepted that he was guilty. Doran was subsequently sentenced to six weeks imprisonment.
David McAllister, age 45 of Wentloog Street, Cardiff pleaded guilty to offences under the Fraud Act 2006 at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court.
In sentencing, the Magistrates said this was a despicable crime and crossed the threshold for custody. McAllister was also sentenced to six weeks Imprisonment and issued a three year Criminal Anti Social Behaviour Order which will prohibit Mr McAllister from:
Cold calling at any property to offer services or leaflets in relation to building work and/or housing repairs
Being involved or associated with any company that engages in cold calling with the intention of offering its services in relation to building work and/or housing repairs.
David Jones, Head of Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said: “We take all types of doorstep crime, such as distraction burglary and rogue trading offences, extremely seriously. We hope this sentence demonstrates to these criminals that all agencies are intent on seeking justice for such a cowardly crime.
“These criminals prey on the elderly and vulnerable and will use various tricks to con their way into a home, or offer DIY services, which are unsatisfactory and vastly over-priced.
“It should remind people of the danger they put themselves in when they accept offers of work from cold-callers and pay cash to builders they do not know.
"Once again I would urge residents to only accept the services of a skilled trader who can properly identify the work that needs to be done. Only use traders who have been recommended to you by friends or family and can provide references of their good work.
"But no matter how convincing they may seem, do not accept work from cold-callers. We will not tolerate rogue traders who prey on unassuming residents and charge a phenomenal amount of cash for such basic and substandard work.”