A rogue trader who drove a blind pensioner to a bank to pay for work that didn’t need doing has been jailed for 14 months.
Cornelius Jones, of Pontypool based C. Jones and Son was taken to court by Caerphilly County Borough Council after he told 90-year-old Nelson man John Teasdale, who was blind, that his roof needed repairs.
In November 2010, Jones visited the home Mr Teasdale, who has passed away since the incident, 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 his victim to a local bank to cash a cheque in order to pay for the work.
The care worker told Jones that 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 woman 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 April 30 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 six 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.
“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.”