Mark Jenkins, aged 45, of Caerphilly in Mid Glamorgan, was convicted at Bristol Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 23rd October) of more than 40 fraud offences, committed over a 31-month period.
Jenkins went to people’s homes to offer a quote after being contacted through an online trade recommendation website. He would then offer an extremely competitive price and give the impression he had a professional workforce that start right away and get it donw quickly.
He would take a large deposit for the proposed work, which he said was to pay for materials and then ask the victims to go to a trade centre where he held a trade account and choose the kitchen or bathroom of their choice, saying he would be in touch. Invariably, the kitchens or materials were not paid for by Jenkins.
Tradesmen would sometimes arrive to start work on the victim’s homes but left as soon as they realised they were not being paid.
A number of trade supply companies still have outstanding debts with Mark Jenkins due to uncompleted work and building supplies provided on credit, which had not been settled.
He was charged with one count of fraudulent trading under the Fraud Act 2006, relating to an initial 12 complaints. A further 31 offences in respect of consumer complaints and 14 in respect of trader complaints, relating to fraud by false representation, were made subject of offences to be taken into consideration.
Offences occurred in Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff, Penarth, Bristol and Clevedon.
National Trading Standards chairman Lord Toby Harris said after the case: “I urge everyone to think twice before agreeing to have building work done – rogue traders are often very plausible so do check references and credentials before paying out any money. Even some of the reputable trading websites can be duped by fraudsters posing as legitimate traders so if you are in any doubt, contact your local trading standards department or Citizens Advice.”