10 May 2012>
A rogue trader, who conned unsuspecting members of the public into allowing him to carry out hundreds of pounds worth of unnecessary roofing works, has been imprisoned following an investigation by Caerphilly County Borough Council's Trading Standards Service.
Cornelius Jones, of Pontypool based C. Jones and Son was taken to court after it came to light that he had conned an elderly resident living in Nelson, Caerphilly county borough into believing that the roof of his home required repairing, when it didn't.
The incident occurred in November 2010, when Jones visited the home of 90 year old Mr John Teasdale, who since the incident has sadly passed away, telling him that he had been passing by the property and noticed that some of the roof tiles on his home were loose and needed repairing.
During the time Jones was at the property, a care worker also paid a visit to the property to check on Mr Teasdale, who was registered blind, had poor mobility and needed daily assistance.
Upon hearing the full extent of what Jones said needed doing to the roof, which totalled £280, the care worker challenged Jones as he knew a quantity of money that large was not kept in the house – at this point, Jones admitted that he had driven the victim to a local bank to cash a cheque in order to pay for the work.
The care worker informed Cornelius Jones that, as a frequent visitor to the house, he knew that there was nothing wrong with the roof tiles, and asked for the money back. This was later confirmed by a Chartered Building Surveyor who carried out an inspection of the roof.
Having given a refund for the works, Jones replaced the three roof tiles he had removed and left the property. The care worker then contacted Gwent Police, who attended the scene and handed the case to Caerphilly County Borough Council's Trading Standards Service to investigate.
In addition to this case, Jones was also investigated by Newport City Council's Trading Standards team for a case which occurred in July 2010.
A 68 year old female resident from Newport contacted C. Jones and Son having seen an advert for the company in a local newspaper, to repair a leaking flat roof at her home.
Jones attended the property and carried out works on the roof. On completion of the job, Jones informed the consumer that the work he had undertaken was guaranteed for 12 years. Having paid cash for the job however, she was dismayed to discover that the roof still leaked.
A later inspection of the roof confirmed that the works had been carried out to a poor standard and that significant remedial work costing £800 was necessary, including a complete renewal of the waterproofing.
Cornelius Jones appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on Monday 30th April, where he pleaded guilty to three offences committed in Nelson and one offence committed in Newport.
The offences in Nelson were contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, and related to: -
- Stating that the roof required repairing when it didn't
- Repairing the roof when it did not need repairing
- An aggressive practice, using harassment, coercion and undue influence, by taking the consumer to the bank to withdraw money
The offence in Newport was also contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Jones was sentenced to eight months imprisonment for each of the three offences committed in Nelson to run concurrently, together with 6 months imprisonment for the offence committed in Newport, to run consecutively with the eight months, therefore totalling 14 months imprisonment for the offences.
Jacqui Morgan, Trading Standards and Licensing Manager at Caerphilly County Borough Council said, "I am encouraged that the court has given a substantial prison sentence to Jones for these callous, despicable crimes".
She continued, "Particularly in the case of Mr Teasdale, Jones preyed on his victims vulnerability, and it was perhaps only through the presence of mind of the care worker for challenging Jones and bringing it to our attention, that Jones was brought to justice".
"While the majority of trades people are trustworthy, I would encourage everyone with elderly or vulnerable parents, friends, relatives and neighbours to bear this case in mind, and help them heed the advice not to entertain anyone calling at the doorstep without first consulting a friend or relative", she added.
Cornelius Jones was brought to justice by Caerphilly County Borough Council's Trading Standards Service, with the assistance of Newport City Council's Trading Standards, the regional Trading Standards Scambusters Team and officers from Gwent Police.
To report an incident in Caerphilly county borough, please contact Trading Standards on 01495 235 291. In an emergency, dial 999.
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