Rogue Trader jailed for ‘milking’ victims of their savings
Following a joint prosecution by Anglesey and Wrexham Trading Standards, Stephen Anthony (‘Tony’) Doyle, 34, of Old Smithy, Bryngwran, Anglesey was found guilty of Fraud and four counts under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, by Caernarfon Crown Court on the 8th July 2013.
Between 2009 and 2012 Mr Doyle targeted a number of vulnerable residents in Anglesey and Wrexham aged between 69 and 89 years old, by suggesting and undertaking unnecessary building work to the roofs of their properties.
Although some work was carried out, it was unnecessary, of poor quality, and they were substantially overcharged. It was clear that Mr Doyle had exploited vulnerable victims, implying that work was urgently needed to their roofs to prevent leaks, he even offered to drive them to the bank to secure payment in cash.
In total elderly residents from Anglesey & Wrexham paid in excess of £50,000 for unnecessary or substandard work. In one instance Doyle claimed to be checking the roof for storm damage under a guarantee and whilst on the roof he was seen damaging roof tiles by the victim’s neighbours. The victim claimed ‘she could never understand why there was always a problem with her roof and no-one else’s’.
Mr Doyle was convicted of dishonestly damaging tiles claiming them to be storm damaged, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006, and four counts of failing to demonstrate professional diligence, contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
On the 5th August 2013, at Caernarfon Crown Court, the Judge, Recorder Keith Bush, condemned his actions as causing “…untold misery…” to his victims, further describing them as having been identified by Mr Doyle as “… cash cows to be milked by you for personal gain...” Previous convictions of Mr Doyle were taken into consideration, notably a conviction in 2010, for a similar case brought by Wrexham Trading Standards, for fraudulently obtaining money for building work, from a vulnerable resident, which was not undertaken and failing to provide cancellation rights.
In sentencing Mr Doyle to a total of two and a half years (30 months) imprisonment along with a 5 year Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order (CRASBO) preventing him from Cold Calling on potential customers, the Judge, Recorder Keith Bush branded the offences as “…close to the most serious of their kind…” and added “…a clear message needs to be sent out to all those who attempt to exploit the elderly…”
Councillor Arwel Roberts, Isle of Anglesey County Council Planning and the Environment Portfolio holder said: “We welcome the conviction. Rogue Traders who prey on the vulnerable and damage the reputation of genuine traders; by overcharging, carrying out unnecessary or substandard work, or general fraudulent activity, will not be tolerated and will be brought before the courts.”
Councillor David Griffiths Wrexham Council's Lead Member for Health and Adult Social Care, added “We commend the bravery of the victims in providing assistance to Trading Standards Officers to bring rogue traders to justice, and in doing so helping to protect other vulnerable members of the community.
If any resident has experienced problems of this nature or has concerns about the trading practices of a particular trader, they are encouraged to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06.”
DATE: 06 August 2013