TWO rogue traders involved in a driveway scam across the Vale have been sentenced to 18 month prison terms following a successful prosecution led by the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Trading Standards team.
A third man received a twelve month suspended sentence and 120 hours of community service for his role in a driveway scam that had at least sixteen victims across South Wales.
David James Snr, David James Jnr and Stephen Hewes, operating as National Tarmac, cold called victims at their homes offering to resurface their driveways. While referring to fictional contracts with well-known companies and local councils, the three used what appeared to be professional marketing literature and a website to dupe customers into agreeing to work.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council led the prosecution on behalf of a number of other local authorities in Wales including Newport, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff.
Principal Trading Standards Officer for the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Christina Roberts-Kinsey, said afterwards: “Victims of the scam paid up to £1,100 for resurfacing work which was often done in an hour or less and following which repairs and remedial work were always necessary.
"When customers questioned the men or raised concerns about the quality of the work they met with intimidation and aggressive demands for immediate payment. Following the work to his driveway one victim had to pay £3,500 to have the surface repaired and re-laid.
"The council will not tolerate any fraudulent activity in the Vale and had no hesitation in leading the prosecution against these rogue traders.”
During sentencing the judge at Cardiff Crown Court pointed out that a chartered surveyor had inspected nine of the victims’ driveways and described the work as inadequate and poor.
When sentencing them to prison terms the judge told David James Jnr and Stephen Hewes: “It is clear this was a well thought out, fraudulent arrangement and you took money for worthless services. You are experienced having work in similar roles for several years and so you both knew what you were doing. An immediate custodial sentence is therefore justified.”
Following the prosecution, Cllr Neil Moore, leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “Our Trading Standards officers work exceptionally hard to bring fraudulent traders such as these men to justice.
"This was a sophisticated con that preyed on vulnerable people. The strong action of the Vale of Glamorgan Council sends a clear signal that we will use our full enforcement powers to stop rogue traders operating in the Vale.”