Following an investigation by the National Trading Standards Investigation Team (Wales), a 23 year old Newport man has today been sentenced to 10 months in prison and 180 hours unpaid work at Cardiff Crown Court for six offences of fraud. The prosecution was conducted by Newport City Council as two of the offences took place in the city.
Between June 2016 and January 2017, Mitchell Day advertised his services as a carpenter on Facebook. His advert included photographs of work he had supposedly carried out. Victims contacted his business, JP Carpentry & Building Works via the social network site and arranged for Day to attend their homes to carry out a survey and to provide a quote.
When victims agreed to employ Day, he would request an immediate deposit to pay for materials. Having received this, Day would make arrangements to carry out the work. These arrangements were never met. The total financial loss incurred by the six victims in the case amounted to £7,300.
Day’s activities were not confined to the Newport and South Wales. One victim lived in Cheshire and another in Essex. He provided a false business address to his victims which made it impossible for them to contact him to complain about his non-attendance.
The oldest of his victims was a 75 year old lady from Merthyr Tydfil who paid Day a £3,800 deposit to fit a new bathroom at her home. She needed specific equipment to cater for her mobility and health issues. No work was ever carried out. She was forced to live with her daughter until her bathroom could be modified.
Another victim from Barry used her savings to pay a £1,200 deposit for a new bathroom. Once again Day took her money but failed to carry out any work at her home. She was forced to take out a loan to pay a legitimate business to carry out the work.
Due to an early plea, Judge Jeremy Jenkins gave a third off the sentence. In total Mr Day received:
- 10 months concurrent for each of the 6 counts to run concurrently suspended for 18 months
- 180 hours unpaid work
- 19 counselling sessions
- £1,000 costs to be paid at £100 per month
- No compensation order
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said:
“Mr Day cynically deceived consumers, defrauding them of thousands of pounds. I am pleased that the work of the National Trading Standards Investigations Team Wales has ensured that he has been brought to justice.
“I would urge all consumers to exercise extreme caution when thinking about hiring tradespeople that have been found on social media. Before hiring someone you should always undertake your own checks – including getting references from people they have done work for previously. If you believe you, or someone you know, has fallen victim to a fraud like this please report it to the Citizens Advice consumer service helpline by calling 03454 04 05 06.”
Councillor Ray Truman, Cabinet Member for Licensing and Regulation at Newport City Council, said:
“We are committed to protecting the rights of Newport citizens, investigating companies that are not operating within the law and securing prosecutions in such cases. As a council we also support the independent Buy With Confidence scheme which helps customers identify companies that are open, honest, operate within trading law and have good customer service.”
Notes to Editors
For more information about this case or for general enquiries about National Trading Standards please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
About National Trading Standards
- National Trading Standards provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally
- The National Trading Standards Board is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
- National Trading Standards teams are based within local authority trading standards services
- For more information please visit www.nationaltradingstandards.uk