Suspended jail term for rogue trader

A roofer who misled customers and took thousands of pounds without completing or carrying out work has pleaded guilty to committing fraud.

Trading as RG Roofing, Robert Gooch from Brackla was charged with one count of fraud under the Fraud Act 2006 and six counts of engaging in misleading commercial practices under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. He pleaded guilty to all charges at Merthyr Crown Court on Monday 7 September 2020.

Under the count of fraud, the court heard that eight separate complaints were made against Mr Gooch between 2013 and 2018 after he took substantial deposits for work which was either not completed or not started. One property suffered flooding as a result of the unfinished work.

A further six complaints were made for misleading commercial practices carried out in the Swansea area which saw Mr Gooch accepting deposits totalling £16,784 for work that was either not started or completed.

After pleading guilty on all counts, Mr Gooch was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment, suspended for a further 24 months. He was also ordered to complete a 10 day rehabilitation course and to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Cllr Dhanisha Patel, who is a member of the Joint Committee for Shared Regulatory Services, said: “The conclusion of this case sends out the clear message that fraudulent and misleading trading practices which result in residents being ripped off will not be tolerated. We will investigate all potential cases of fraud by rogue traders, and will not hesitate to prosecute the crime in court.

“As we enter the autumn and winter period, residents need to remain extra vigilant. This case covered incidents which took place across a wide area, and I am grateful to the Shared Regulatory Service and our partners for bringing it to a fitting conclusion.”

Residents can contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 to register complaints, which are then made available for Shared Regulatory Services to assess.