blank
Connect with us

Business

Neath Port Talbot home improvement rogue trader jailed

Published

on

crop man sawing wooden plank at home

Richard John Evans, of Brook Street, Port Talbot, a director of Crystal Style Home Improvements Ltd, was sentenced to 34 months in prison at Swansea Crown Court last week following a three year investigation by Neath Port Talbot Council’s Trading Standards Department.

A sales manager at the same company, and a director at a business closely linked with the company, SDG Home Improvements, were given suspended jail sentences.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection, Cllr Leanne Jones said: “We welcome the sentences delivered and are pleased the court recognised the financial loss and mental harm caused to the victims. Trading Standards takes a hard line on investigating businesses that flout the law and target the vulnerable in our area.

“The service is currently promoting the National Trading Standards run trader approval scheme Buy With Confidence which legitimate and responsible traders in Neath Port Talbot are encouraged to join. They can make enquiries with the department to join up and local consumers should check the Buy with Confidence website for approved traders”.

Crystal Style Home Improvements Ltd, trading from 3, Upper Bank Chambers, Briton Ferry, Neath, first came to the attention of Trading Standards officers in May 2018, after being found to falsely claim they were registered with Certass, the trade association of the glazing industry. The officers initially met with the company to advise on the printed and verbal (telesales) claims they were making as part of their sales pitch, following up the advice in writing.

Advertisement

Advertisement

By October 2018, Trading Standards officers were receiving complaints about Crystal Style Home Improvements from across south Wales, the complaints including misleading sales practices, high pressure sales tactics and refusals to issue refunds when consumers cancelled within the cooling off period.

The court heard aggressive sales tactics were used, which included salesmen sometimes staying at customers’ homes for up to five hours with artificially high prices quoted by salespeople in order to offer what appeared to be large reductions. Where work was actually carried out, it was of a poor and substandard quality.

Crystal Style moved to a call centre at the Water Street Business Centre in Port Talbot. Richard John Evans was now working with David Gater – employed as a sales manager.

Investigation by Neath Port Talbot Council Trading Standards officers led to warrants being executed at various addresses. Documents gathered linked Crystal Style with SDG Home Improvements, based in Station Road, Port Talbot.

Advertisement

Advertisement

It became clear Richard John Evans was trying to dissolve Crystal Style and carry on trading as an “employee” of S Garvey & Co Limited, which traded as SDG Home Improvements. SDG Home Improvements was based in Port Talbot and run by Stephen Garvey.

Although SDG Home Improvements did not operate a call centre, and its customer base was more local than Crystal Style’s, the sales tactics remained the same. Monies in excess of £75,000 were paid out by customers of both Crystal Style Home Improvements and SDG Home Improvements.

Mr Evans and Mr Gater pleaded guilty to offences related to Crystal Style Home Improvements during December 2019. Both Richard John Evans and Stephen Garvey later pleaded guilty to offences related to SDG Home Improvements during October 2020.

All three defendants appeared before Swansea Crown Court for sentence, on March 5th, 2021. 

The sentencing Judge, Recorder Malcolm Gibney, said all three had defrauded the public, and that Richard John Evans “told lies” to vulnerable people to make them part with their money. He concluded the “target customer” was elderly and vulnerable.

Advertisement

As well as the 34 month jail term given to Richard John Evans, David Gater, who was found to have operated as “a lieutenant” to Mr Evans, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid community work.  Stephen Garvey was given 24 months in prison, suspended for 24 months, with a 10 week curfew between the hours of 8pm and 7am.  In addition, Proceeds of Crime proceedings are ongoing in respect of Mr Garvey.

Both Crystal Style Home Improvements Ltd, and SDG Home Improvements, have now been dissolved.

If you wish to report any such incidents please contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223113 or 0808 2231144 if you wish to speak to an advisor in Welsh.

(Lead image: Ksenia Chernaya / Pexels.com)


Advertisement

Advertisement
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Ammanford

Jenkins family set to grow Capel Hendre business as the UK’s leading manufacturer of chimney cowls and flue systems

Published

on

By

Midtec, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of chimney cowls and flue systems has completed the construction of 2500 square feet of additional manufacturing space at Capel Hendre Industrial Estate near Ammanford, using a £220,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales.

Formed in 2003 by Managing Director, Trefor Jenkins, Midtec first benefitted from investment from the Development Bank in 2005.

Advertisement

They have since had several rounds of funding from the Development Bank to support growth plans and the next generation is looking to the future with the new additional space being used to house a state of the art ENSIS laser cutting machine, supplied by Amada.

Trefor said: “The ongoing support of the Development Bank means that we’ve been able to grow the business, drive efficiencies and invest in new market opportunities. We’ve also introduced new products including the MidCat, an innovative solution for reducing the pollution created by wood burning stoves and the only one of its kind in the UK.”

“Our latest investment in our technology means that we can now offer a laser cutting service that will help to improve our quality and production processes and save time on the turnaround of customer orders. We hope that this will play an important part in our future growth. Indeed, our turnover is on target to exceed £2 million this year and I’m delighted that my son Thomas and daughter Hannah are already playing a vital role in the business as we focus on our long-term sustainability.”

Midtec make chimney cowls and flue systems at their Capel Hendre manufacturing base
Midtec make chimney cowls and flue systems at their Capel Hendre manufacturing base

Richard Easton, a Portfolio Executive with the Development Bank, said: “Midtec is a family run and owned business that is known for its high quality and excellent customer service. With our continued support, Trefor, Thomas, Hannah and the team have created a modern manufacturing facility that has a really exciting future ahead.”

The loan came from the £204 million Wales Business Fund which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government. Loans, mezzanine finance, and equity investments are available for deals between £50,000 and £2 million with terms ranging from one to seven years for small and medium-sized businesses (those with fewer than 250 employees) based in Wales, or willing to relocate to Wales.

Construction company TRJ of Ammanford carried out the building work, while Jamie Reynolds of Cennen Solutions has also been providing strategic support.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Business

Award-winning Pembrokeshire pub celebrates ultrafast broadband boost

Published

on

By

An award-winning pub in the heart of Pembrokeshire has been supplied with ultrafast fibre broadband in a move to boost connectivity in the area.

In 2010, Simon Vickers and Sian Mathias took over 300-year-old award-winning pub, The Griffin, moving from the city to their home roots with their two children for a lifestyle change. Accidental Chef, Simon, was also recently named Pub Chef of the Year 2021.

Advertisement

The couple celebrated their new broadband connection last Friday (15th July), which has been supplied courtesy of Broadway Broadband.

They were joined by Pembrokeshire Council members Patrick Hannon and Michael Odlin as well as County Councillor Paul Miller, and members of the Broadway Broadband team.

Broadway Broadband has pledged to connect all 224 properties in Dale Village with ultrafast fibre broadband, in their aim to tackle the digital divide currently affecting remote, hard-to-reach areas of Wales.

The area surrounding The Griffin Inn had previously grappled with poor download speeds of around 5-10Mbps, with Superfast and Ultrafast packages completely unavailable. The package supplied by Broadway offers speeds of 100 Mbps for only £19.99 per month.

The new connection hopes to provide a boost for businesses and residents in the local area, who rely so heavily on the internet for day-to-day activity.

Advertisement
Pembrokeshire Council members Patrick Hannon and Michael Odlin as well as County Councillor Paul Miller, and members of the Broadway Broadband team.

Simon Vickers/Sian Mathias, co-owner of The Griffin Inn, said: “We are over the moon to have now been connected by Broadway to fast broadband! This will bring much needed stability and speed to The Griffin Inn which relies on digital connectivity for almost all aspects of its daily running.

“On top of that, Dale Village is a popular tourist destination for families and water sport enthusiasts, so we hope our broadband upgrade will draw in more tourists looking for a ‘staycation’ holiday.”

Reece Simmons, Wales Regional Manager, Broadway Partners, said: “It has been great to witness first-hand the positive impact superfast, reliable broadband can have on local communities who previously have been disadvantaged by frustratingly slow internet speeds.

“The first connection in Dale Village at The Griffin Inn is a welcome first step in our goal to connect all the properties in the area with affordable, highspeed, reliable broadband and begin to bridge this connectivity gap we see across many rural areas”.

Continue Reading

Business

Aldi retains title of ‘UK’s cheapest supermarket’

Published

on

By

As Brits continue to look for ways to cut household costs, consumer group Which? has yet again named Aldi as the cheapest UK supermarket.

With savings of £12.62 compared to the average Big Four basket, Aldi says its shoppers can be confident they’re getting the best deal.

Advertisement

Which? conducted its monthly Cheapest Supermarket price comparison and looked at the cost of a basket of 47 items, including groceries and household essentials, with Aldi coming in cheapest at just £74.23.

The same shopping cost a whopping £16.91 more at Morrisons and £12.54 more at Tesco.

The independent consumer group’s research also found Aldi to be a massive £25.23 cheaper than the most expensive supermarket, Waitrose, for an equivalent basket of items.

The full results of the research are as follows:

RankRetailerAverage £
1Aldi74.23
2Lidl75.61
3Asda83.22
4Sainsbury’s86.27
5Tesco86.77
6Morrisons91.14
7Ocado95.33
8Waitrose99.46

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, said: “We know that across the nation many families are finding things tough due to the cost of living crisis. At Aldi, we’re determined to help by keeping costs low and quality high for our customers. We’re thrilled to yet again be named the UK’s cheapest supermarket.”

Advertisement

(Lead image: Aldi)

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Swansea Bay News