Rogue trader builders sent to prison after exploiting two victims in their 80s
Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter
Two rogue trader brothers have been sent to prison after exploiting two elderly men from Cowbridge.
Bernard Mongan, 23, and his brother Martin Mongan, 22, of Slapton Road in Leighton Buzzard, asked for three times the agreed fee for work to a driveway and roof which was unfinished and carried out to a poor standard.
When the victims, both in their 80s, refused to pay for the work they were met with threats and intimidation.
The defendants pleaded guilty to two counts of engaging in aggressive commercial practice and were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on Monday, February 20, to nine months’ imprisonment.
In sentencing the two men, Judge Jeremy Jenkins said: “The victims in this case were cold-called for work which was claimed by the defendants as necessary.
“You raised the price in a deliberate and false three-tier process. When challenged by the victims you bullied them and made them feel intimidated.
“There was genuine fear felt by the victims. You have asked for leniency in this case, but you did not think of the effects of your actions in respect of the victims. This case has clearly passed the custody threshold.
“I have taken into consideration your early guilty pleas but have also taken into consideration the age of the victims in this case.”
The Mongans were also ordered to pay a victim surcharge within three months of leaving custody.
During lockdown, the brothers set up a company called Prestige Driveways and Roofs Limited.
They used a false address for the company and based themselves in Newport.
Within days they had approached the victims and agreed to undertake two pieces of work, one on a driveway and another to a roof.
After the victims’ refusal to pay were met with threats, the matter was reported to the police and then referred to the Shared Regulatory Service (SRS).
The SRS carries out trading standards and other functions for the Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend and Cardiff local authority areas.
Vale of Glamorgan Council cabinet member for community engagement, equalities and regulatory services, Cllr Ruba Sivagnanam, said: “Such behaviour is completely unacceptable, and I hope this prosecution sends out a message that it will not be tolerated in the Vale.
“I’d like to thank SRS officers for their diligent work and warn anyone thinking of committing similar offences that we will not hesitate to take action against them.
“I would advise residents to obtain clear written quotations when having building work carried out.
“People should also be aware that the law allows a person to cancel contracts made at their home.
“It is prudent to take time and care when choosing traders and to ask for samples of their work.
“Ideally, the person selected should also be part of a relevant professional association.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.