A father and son who defrauded fifteen victims in South Wales of more than £70,000 have been sentenced today (29 September) to four and two years respectively at Cardiff Crown Court.
The pair – who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud in July – carried out fraudulent construction work across South Wales between August 2011 and September 2014, claiming to represent ‘businesses’ that were not registered and used false addresses and contact details.
The victims – aged between 50 and 97 – were tricked into spending large sums of money for jobs that were either not carried out or, when it was, the work was done to a poor standard or overcharged for. One example of how the pair ripped off victims include a disabled man who paid £20,000 for a brick wall in his front garden that should have cost around £700. The work that was eventually carried out has been described by an independent chartered surveyor as appalling, who recommended it be demolished. Another victim – an 83-year old woman – paid £1,450 for roof repairs that were never carried out.
Newport City Council brought the prosecution against 52-year-old Jeffrey Tawse and James Tawse, aged 25, following a two-year investigation by the National Trading Standards Scambuster Team (Wales). Both men, who are from Rumney in Cardiff, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud at Newport Crown Court in July. Jeffrey Tawse also admitted a money laundering offence.
The investigation found that the two men claimed to work as representatives of Premier Drives, J&R South West Power Washing, General Landscape Gardening, General Jetwashing Services and Premier Jetwashing Services. None of these businesses were registered and contact details supplied to victims through documentation and invoices were false. Work was supposedly guaranteed for up to five years and consumers were not given any opportunity to cancel.
The Tawses offered to clean and seal driveways and patios as well as apply ‘weed proof’ sand to prevent further growth.
Andrew Bertie, Team Leader at the National Trading Standards Scambuster Team (Wales), said:
“I welcome the sentences handed down today to Jeffrey and James Tawse. Both men used aggressive sales tactics to intimidate people – many of whom were in vulnerable situations – into having repair work carried out, often charging tens of thousands of pounds. Many victims saw no repair work carried out, or when it was the work was done to a poor standard or overcharged for.”
Lord Toby Harris, Chair, National Trading Standards, said:
“This sentence sends a clear message that these deliberate attempts to deceive consumers – many of whom were in vulnerable situations – will not be tolerated and I would like to congratulate all those involved in bringing this pair to justice.
“I urge anyone who is suspicious of work being carried out on their home, in their family or in their neighbourhood to contact your local trading standards department or the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.”
Before contracting any type of professional service, consumers are advised to always obtain at least two quotes, and wait 24-hours before making a decision on who to proceed with. Word of mouth recommendations from family, friends and neighbours are often a good place to start.
Notes to Editors
For more information about this case contact Newport City Council on 01633 210461.
For more general enquiries regarding the National Trading Standards Board 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 funds the Scambuster Teams that target rogue trading, doorstep crime and scams, providing support across England and Wales through eight regionally based teams:
1.Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CeNTSA)
2.North East Trading Standards Authorities (NETSA)
3.Trading Standards East Midlands (TSEM)
4.Trading Standards North West (TSNW)
5.Tri Region Scambusters (TRS), on behalf of Trading Standards South East Ltd (TSSEL), East of England Trading Standards Association (EETSA) and London Trading Standards Association (LoTSA)
6.Trading Standards Partnership South West (SWERCOTS)
7.Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group (YAHTSG) and
8.Wales Heads of Trading Standards (WHoTS)
There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.
For more information please visit www.nationaltradingstandards.uk.