On 17 December 2020, two separate Ceredigion Traders were sentence by Aberystwyth Magistrates Court for fraud. Danny McClelland trading as DVC Home Improvements has been sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, 15 rehabilitation days and pay the victim £2,000 compensation after pleading guilty to fraud, whilst Colin Harding from Llandysul was given a 12 month Curfew Order with electronic monitoring from 7pm to 7am and ordered to pay £250 compensation within 14 days, a further £750 costs to Ceredigion County Council, and a court surcharge of £90.
Danny McClelland, trading as DVC Home Improvements, of Bronhaul, Cilcennin, Lampeter was investigated by Ceredigion County Council’s Trading Standards (Public Protection) after receiving a complaint that he had misled an 85 year old widower, who was registered blind, about work that he claimed to have carried out at the victim’s home.
Aberystwyth Magistrates heard how McClelland had made an unsolicited call at the victim’s home and had told him that work was needed to his chimneys, ridge tiles, and other parts of his property. When the victim requested paperwork from McClelland, the paperwork described the work as including capping of the two chimneys and the rebedding of ridge tiles, which was not done.
McClelland had quoted £4,750 for the work and the victim had paid an initial £2,000, but a report by a surveyor appointed by Ceredigion Trading Standards gave the opinion that the work was merely cosmetic and was not required, valuing it at £291.50.
On 17th December 2020, at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court, Mr McClelland was sentenced to 16 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 15 rehabilitation days, 200 hours unpaid work, and to pay the victim compensation of £2,000 within 14 days. The Court also ordered McClelland to pay full prosecution costs of £2,159.64 to Ceredigion County Council, and a court surcharge of £122.
The Court did take into account McClelland’s early guilty plea and the effect that an immediate custodial sentence would have on his young family. However, he was warned by the court that if he failed to comply with any part of the sentence, then the custodial sentence would be activated with immediate effect.
Colin Harding, of Pontsian, Llandysul, was investigated by Ceredigion County Council’s Trading Standards (Public Protection) for fraud. He had been trading as a model railway layout builder and had previously been sentenced for similar fraud offences in June 2019.
Aberystwyth Magistrates heard how Harding had misled a customer after failing to supply a model railway baseboard valued at £249.99. When interviewed by Officers from Ceredigion County Council’s Trading Standards Service, Harding admitted that he was a conman and that he had committed fraud.
He had fabricated excuses for his failure to supply the goods, including the death of two relatives, trips abroad, and being let down by a courier. When the deadline for delivery came and went, the victim contacted Trading Standards. Harding had then made promises to refund the payments made by the victim, but these never materialised.
Harding was previously given a suspended sentence for earlier fraud and product safety offences. His defence solicitor stated that Harding did not set out to defraud people and that his client had become overwhelmed by debt, ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul.’
On 17th December 2020, Mr Harding was given a 12 month Curfew Order with electronic monitoring from 7pm to 7am and ordered to pay £250 compensation within 14 days, a further £750 costs to Ceredigion County Council, and a court surcharge of £90. The Chair of the Bench told Harding that this was a terrible thing to do to the community, but that it was unjust to activate the suspended sentence in the circumstances.
Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet member with responsibility for Public Protection said, “Dishonest traders need to be aware that offending of this nature will not be tolerated. Ceredigion’s Public Protection acts not only to protect consumers from dishonest traders, but also to help maintain trust in the honest traders who are in the majority in Ceredigion’s business community.”