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Persistent rogue trader jailed

11 August 2017

A Maesteg rogue trader has been jailed after deceiving customers with a home improvement swindle despite being subject to a suspended sentence for fraud offences.

In June 2016, Mr Olaf Cosker received a suspended sentence for nine counts of fraud which related to the selling of solar panels to consumers and businesses where they were never supplied, following an investigation by Shared Regulatory Services – a partnership between Bridgend County Borough Council, Vale of Glamorgan Council and Cardiff Council.

Shared Regulatory Services’ Trading Standards officers were then informed that in August 2016, Mr Cosker, trading as Capitol Home Improvements, offered to supply and fit new soffits, fascias and double glazing products to a Cwmbran resident.

The consumer was quoted £3,000, with Mr Cosker requesting an upfront payment of £1,000, which was paid to him in cash on the day.

Whilst at the lady’s home, Mr Cosker falsely advised her that he was accredited by CERTASS – a certification body for building standards, and membership of which requires rigorous assessment and verification.

Mr Cosker provided the resident with paperwork, but he failed to advise her, both verbally and in writing, that she could cancel the contract. Having taken the £1,000 up front, he started some work but failed to complete the job. Mr Cosker removed all of the fascia boards without replacing them, which resulted in damage to the resident’s home after rain penetrated into her house.

Prior to these offences, Mr Cosker had been cautioned for fraud back in 2008, and received a 12 month community order in 2013, again for similar offences.

At Cardiff Crown Court on Monday 17 July 2017, after entering guilty pleas to three offences relating to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 arising from his conduct in August 2016, Mr Cosker was sentenced to 50 weeks imprisonment and was ordered by Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke to serve a minimum of 25 weeks.

He was ordered to pay compensation of £850 to the complainant and a further £150 in costs to the local authority.

Chair of the Joint Committee, Councillor Dhanisha Patel said: “Mr Cosker failed on numerous occasions to heed the advice of Trading Standards officers and the courts, and this has resulted in a prison sentence which will potentially have major implications on his character and his ability to run a credible business in the future.

“Our dedicated Major Investigations and Safeguarding team will take the strongest possible action against those who insist on defrauding and misleading consumers – we strive to protect those who are most vulnerable to doorstep crime and we urge neighbours, friends and family members to report such incidents to us at the earliest possible opportunity.”

To report an incident of doorstep crime, call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506, or call the Police non emergency number on 101.  

Last Updated: 11/08/2017
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