A ROGUE trader from Yate conned a pensioner after he was recommended to her on Facebook as a kitchen fitter.
Daniel Dewfall, aged 38, stole £4,368 from the woman, as well as £1,700 from a young Yate family for a bathroom that was never fitted.
He also defrauded an employer out of £4,400.
South Gloucestershire Council’s trading standards team launched an investigation and Dewfall has now been given a one-year suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay his victims over £10,000 in compensation, plus £1,000 in costs.
Bristol Magistrates heard that trading standards received a complaint from a 73-year-old Warmley woman in April 2021 after Dewfall was recommended to her on Facebook the previous December.
He agreed to remove her old kitchen and supply and fit a new one and was paid £3,900 upfront for the kitchen to be bought from supplier Howdens, with a further £468 paid for electrical works, working as a sole trader on the side from his then job.
The council said Dewfall removed the woman’s existing kitchen but “did very little work thereafter”, leaving her to wash her dishes in the bath for four weeks.
A council spokesperson said: “The installation start date kept moving back for a number of reasons and Dewfall made excuse after excuse, some of which were proved to be lies.
“Trading Standards were aware of Daniel Dewfall due to past dealings with him and were able to identify him quickly.
“He was provided ample opportunity to repay the £4,368, which he agreed to do.
“However, after making several excuses he failed to repay the money, leaving Trading Standards no choice but to take formal action against him.”
The spokesperson said Dewfall then attempted to buy the kitchen using the trade account of his then employer, who has not been named.
The spokesperson said: “It was quickly established that he had no permission from his employer to use the account for anything other than in the course of his employment.
“Following this Dewfall was given opportunities by Howdens to pay for the kitchen personally but failed to do so. The kitchen had to be purchased again at the expense of the customer.”
Young family still owed £800
Dewfall also left a Yate family out of pocket after agreeing to install a new bathroom, taking £1,700 of their money and failing to carry out any work – he still owes them £800.
The court heard Dewfall was working as a supervisor for a building maintenance company from February 2022 to May this year when he was found to be using its business credit card and trade accounts for his own purposes, and directed members of his team to carry out personal work for him during company hours.
Dewfall pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and one of fraud.
Sentencing him on September 29 Judge William Hart said the offences had not only deprived his victims of money but had made their lives “miserable”.
Afterwards council cabinet member for trading standards Leigh Ingham said: “We encourage our residents to only deal with trusted tradesmen and to make all agreements in writing.
“Be sure to do your research and be cautious when using websites such as Facebook.”
To report rogue trading, call trading standards on 0808 223 1133.
Picture: South Gloucestershire Council’s trading standards team brought the prosecution