Rogue Trader jailed for 32 months after Scamming West Wales Pensioners

A successful prosecution by Carmarthenshire Trading Standards has seen a Rogue Trader jailed for 32 months after scamming elderly victims in West Wales.

Described by his victims as a thief, a liar and a conman, Danny Vaughan McClelland from Cilcennin, Lampeter, appeared before His Honour Judge Paul Thomas KC at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing after entering guilty pleas to three charges of fraud at an earlier hearing and received an immediate prison sentence.

Investigations by Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion Trading Standards Services discovered that Danny McClelland had committed fraud against pensioners from Bronwydd, Carmarthenshire and Borth, Ceredigion between March and July 2021.  At that time of the offending,  McClelland, who traded as Weathershield Roofing and Property Maintenance was already subject to a suspended sentence for similar offending.

The court was told how McClelland had defrauded pensioners after carrying out unnecessary and poor quality work on their roofs. McClelland had charged the victims over £20,000, and his incompetent work had resulted in them being left with rectification costs totalling over £10,000.  His work was described by chartered surveyors as unnecessary and not of a standard that would be expected of a competent contractor. The expert witness surveyor stated that work carried out by McClelland in one case, where he had charged £14750, had no value whatsoever other than the potential reuse value of the salvageable materials.  McClelland charged one couple £1,750 for just 2½ hours of unnecessary work, and in the third case demanded immediate payment from a victim after removing her roof.

The court was also told how McClelland had previously received a caution for consumer protection offences in 2018.  He was later 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.

During the hearing, HHJ Paul Thomas KC stated that the defendant defrauded a number of elderly customers in 3 different properties. Mr McClelland was a rogue builder who intimidated and bullied his victims, taking the savings of people that had worked hard and honestly all of their lives and left them distressed, angry and upset.  He had blighted their lives in their last years and all of this against the background of previous similar offending and during the currency of a suspended sentence.

The judge sentenced McClelland to 2 years and 8 months in prison for the first charge.  For the other two charges, he was given 16 months imprisonment for each and 3 months for breaching the suspended sentence, all to run concurrently.

Cllr. Aled Vaughan Owen, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability for Carmarthenshire County Council said: “Let this be a warning to all rouge traders that seek to prey from 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, echoed the judge’s comments and 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.”

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Trading Standards Team advises residents that are looking for a trade person that is vetted and approved by Trading Standards to find a business through the Buy With Confidence website.

Carmarthenshire businesses wishing to apply to join the Buy With Confidence scheme can find more information on the Council’s Buy With Confidence page.