Residents in Bridgend county borough are being urged to be vigilant over rogue traders.
It follows a recent court hearing for a rogue roofer who was jailed last summer for more than three years after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud and one count of theft.
Thomas Mochan, 43, of Cae Garw Caravan Site, swindled residents in the county borough out of £39,000 by charging costs for home improvement work at heavily inflated prices and in some situations, carrying out the work to a very poor standard.
At a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on April 30, Mochan was ordered to pay back just over £5,000.
Dave Holland, Head of Shared Regulatory Services which first launched the investigation into Mochan, said: “In many cases of these incidents, the rogue trader will knock at your door and tell you that you have a small problem which is easy to fix, but this soon escalates to finding a major problem, such as the £25,000 charged to one resident by Mochan to repair a supposedly woodworm-infected roof. And despite our robust Proceeds of Crime investigations sometimes there is little compensation available for victims; their money has gone.
“In this particular case, Mochan created a range of different business names to hide behind in order to facilitate his rogue trading. Throughout, he presented a plausible, charming persona which only exacerbated the problem of residents being taken in by his deceit.
“Incidents like these can cause both a physical and emotional decline in individuals that are targeted by rogue traders, creating a downward spiral in a person’s mental wellbeing as they become less independent and more suspicious of people.
“This is why we urge any resident to contact Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 if they suspect a relative, friend or neighbour is being, or has been, defrauded by an individual.
“Alternatively people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111 or by visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.”
The signs of a rogue trader can include unfinished or poor quality services, increased prices and urgent work required, pressure to agree there and then and upfront cash payments. For more information in recognising the signs of a rogue trader visit the Shared Regulatory Services website on www.srs.wales