A rogue trader who targeted vulnerable pensioners, charging tens of thousands of pounds for poor quality and unnecessary work while under a suspended sentence for similar previous crimes, has been jailed for 32 months following a successful prosecution brought by Carmarthenshire Trading Standards.
Danny Vaughan McClelland from Cilcennin, Lampeter, was described by his victims as ‘a thief, a liar and a conman’.
McClelland carried out supposed repair works on homes in Bronwydd, Carmarthenshire and Borth, Ceredigion between March and July 2021. He charged his victims more than £20,000 for work that was conducted to such an incompetent standard that it required rectification costs of more than £10,000.
One expert witness surveyor stated that work carried out by McClelland for which he had charged £14,750 had no value whatsoever other than the potential value of the salvageable materials.
McClelland charged one couple £1,750 for just two and a half hours of unnecessary work, and in the third case demanded immediate payment from a victim after removing her roof.
McClelland, who traded as Weathershield Roofing and Property Maintenance, had previously received a caution for consumer protection offences in 2018 and was given a suspended sentence in December 2020 after pleading guilty to a fraud offence against a blind widower from Ceredigion.
However, McClelland did not heed that warning from the court, and went on to commit further offences on which he stood charged at Swansea Crown Court.
On 23 August McClelland appeared before His Honour Judge Paul Thomas KC for sentencing after entering guilty pleas to three charges of fraud at an earlier hearing. The judge said that McClelland had intimidated and bullied his victims, leaving them distressed, angry and upset.
McClelland was jailed for two years and eight months for the first fraud charge; for each of the other two charges, he was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment with an additional three months for breaching the suspended sentence. All of the sentence are to run concurrently.
Councillor Aled Vaughan Owen, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability for Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “Let this be a warning to all rogue traders that seek to prey on the most vulnerable in our society, we will come after you.
“I would like to thank our Trading Standards Team for pursuing this case and getting justice for the victims. I would also like to thank Ceredigion Trading Standards Service for their support on this case.”
Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Matthew Vaux, said: “Most workmen are decent and reliable but characters like McClelland undermine that trust. At a time when a lot of households are struggling financially, this case shows the valuable work that our Trading Standards service does to protect individuals in our community against rogue traders, and I hope this conviction sends a clear message to any unscrupulous traders that we will take action to stop this type of criminal activity.”