28 November 2022
A rogue trader who defrauded a retired Powys resident into paying £60,000 for construction work that was substandard and incomplete has been given a two-year prison sentence.
Leslie James Smith of Pershore, Worcestershire was prosecuted by Powys County Council’s Trading Standards Service after carrying out work at a property in Felindre.
Smith, who pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and Fraud Act 2006 at an earlier hearing at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates Court, was sentenced to two years in jail and ordered to pay a £156 victim surcharge by Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.
An investigation by Trading Standards officers found that between April 8 and July 8 last year, Smith had been excessively paid for construction work and then failed to complete the work to a competent standard.
The investigation also found that Smith had committed fraud by way of making a false representation, namely his identity. Trading Standards officers also found that Smith had lied about purchasing supplies when he had not, and also claimed the cost of supplies had risen and that he required additional payment when those supplies had purportedly already been purchased.
Smith also asked for additional payment from his victim to subsidise work for other customers with the intention of making a financial gain for himself, the investigation found.
Cllr Richard Church, Cabinet Member for a Safer Powys, said: “The conclusion of this case sends out a clear message that trading practices like this will not be tolerated.
“This case should serve as a reminder to our residents to be vigilant of these crimes and scams to avoid becoming a victim of a rogue trader. I would urge residents to do their research on a business before entering into an agreement and to be cautious when paying money upfront.
“For work carried out at a resident’s home that is more than £42 in value, traders are required by law to provide cancellation rights. This gives 14 days for contracts to be cancelled.
“Under the regulations, traders are required to exercise professional diligence in the work they carry out. If the council receives reports of particularly bad workmanship or work not as described, then this could lead to an investigation by our Trading Standards team.”