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Westbury builder sentenced for trading standards offences

A company director was sentenced on Friday 26 April for trading standards offences.

Published 29 April 2024
Works carried out by builder as part of trading standards prosecution

A company director was sentenced on Friday 26 April, following successful prosecutions by Wiltshire Council and Bath & North East Somerset Council Trading Standards officers.

Daniel Dyer, 31, of Penleigh Road, Westbury, was sentenced at Salisbury Crown Court to two years imprisonment and disqualified from acting as a company director for eight years. A timetable was also set by the judge to enable assets to be identified for the victims to be compensated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

 Mr Dyer, director of now dissolved Ashwood Home Improvements (SW) Ltd had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 11 offences under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, Fraud Act 2006 and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Following a large number of complaints, a lengthy investigation was undertaken, where Mr Dyer admitted to convincing a customer to have unnecessary works carried out at a cost of over £10,000. He also admitted to continuing to falsely claim to be a member of The Federation of Master Builders and Trustmark despite being previously advised by trading standards that he should not be using the logos.  

The charges also relate to sub-standard building works, some of which left householders' properties in a precarious or dangerous structural condition. At a further five properties in Wiltshire, he had received approximately £300,000 in payments for works which had been left incomplete.  Mr Dyer had also told customers he would obtain sign off for the works from Wiltshire Council Building Control which he failed to do, meaning the works were not inspected or authorised to ensure compliance with building regulations.   

At one property in Trowbridge, the owners agreed to pay £38,600 for a garage conversion and extension. The project was estimated to take thirteen weeks but two years later the project was still incomplete with the householders having paid more than double the original quote of £80,314. The owners have since been quoted £26,000 plus VAT to finish the build and rectify the problems with the original work.  A chartered surveyor who examined the work found inadequate foundations and structural support, a fire risk in the stairway and a toilet installed in a position that could not be sat on.

At another property, also in Trowbridge, works stopped after five months, leaving the disabled owner without a kitchen sink and a leaking roof after making payments of over £50,000. Other householders have been advised to completely demolish and rebuild works that were inadequately completed by Mr Dyer.

Works to a property in Radstock, in Bath and North East Somerset, to install off-road parking and create a loft extension, for which Mr Dyer received more than £53,000, stopped shortly after they began. An officer from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) served a prohibition notice preventing further work from being carried out due to Mr Dyer not having installed temporary shoring works to safeguard the stability of the property during excavations, which were required by the plans provided to him. Damage had also been caused to the existing structure necessitating remedial work. The defendant became unreachable and stopped responding to the householder's attempts to contact them.

Cllr Dominic Muns, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: Rogue traders aren't always easy to spot and can carry out work that is incomplete or to an unacceptable standard causing misery for our residents.

It is a key priority for us to protect our residents from harm and as such our trading standards team do all they can to support people to be aware of the signs of unscrupulous traders. I hope that the sentence that has been imposed sends a clear message that we will take action to protect our residents. People looking to find a builder with trading standards approval could visit buywithconfidence.gov.uk which hopefully will provide some reassurance of the people they bring to do the work.

Councillor Tim Ball, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: Traders who operate fraudulently can have a serious impact on the health and safety of their victims, as well as on their finances. This sentencing should act as a warning to any rogue trader that we will do everything we can to stop them and help protect the public.

Ashwood Home Improvements (SW) Ltd was placed in voluntary liquidation by Mr Dyer in November 2022 and further action is now being taken against Mr Dyer to recover criminal assets through confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

When choosing a builder for extensive works, people should:

  • speak to friends and family for recommendations, read online reviews or ask traders if they can provide details of people in your area who have a had building job undertaken that's similar
  • try to get at least three written quotes and never agree to work on the spot 
  • agree a schedule for payments in advance of the work starting and make sure this is included in the contract
  • discuss who will arrange sign off from building control. 

If anyone believes they have been the victim of a rogue trader, they should call Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

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