AFTER months of empty promises of work and thousands of pounds taken from unsuspecting victims, Dylan John Edwards been jailed for eight months after pleading guilty to fraud and false representation.
Edwards, of Min-y-Ddol, outside Machynlleth, had a working agreement with a trained craftsman for the business he founded in 2012, Classic Home Improvements, however this had broken down by the start of 2013.
It was past this point he began to operate as a rogue trader, canvassing and cold-calling the Aberystwyth area and talking to those connected to himself and his family, looking for building improvement work and still giving out quotes and accepting payments form customers but with no way to fulfill the work he owed them.
A 68-year old woman and her husband agreed to a new front door and additional work totalling £1,800 and paid half of it as a deposit, but the start date for the work came and went. When they attempted to reach Mr Edwards they found the calls went straight to voicemail.
79-year old Dorothy Griffiths was swindled out of a £3,000 deposit for various home improvements which also never came to be, and oldest of the victims represented in court was Efron James at 82, who paid in two installments a total of £1,600 for work Mr Edwards never started.
The prosecution at Swansea Crown Court said they understood that the business Mr Edwards had established was not initially fraudulent, but by continuing to operate after knowing the agreement with their craftsman had dissolved they entered into fraudulent territory.
This case has already been in the news after the Aberystwyth Police came under criticism for the slow response to claims of fraud. Prosecutor Nicola Powell blamed the department for “dragging their feet” as they had interviewed Mr Edwards as far back as May 2013.
When sentencing Mr Edwards last week Judge Paul Thomas said he was setting an example to those who may try to do the same thing:
“You fraudulently took deposits from customers who were in the main retired or elderly. You took their deposits knowing the contracts of work you made could not possibly have been fulfilled – they were easy picking for a rogue trader like you. You were a cause of great stress and distress to people who did not need this at their time of life. In May 2013 you were arrested and questioned by the police which should have been a shot across your bows but you continued, taking a deposit from Gwyneth Williams in June.”
Dyfed Thomas, representing Mr Edward, said his client felt great remorse for what he had done. There is currently no arrangement for compensation for those affected.