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Driveway repair fraudster jailed

Created on 31/08/2018 @ 10:54
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A man has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for defrauding vulnerable and elderly consumers, many across Powys, out of at least £300,000 at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court today.

The sentencing follows a nationwide case taken by Powys County Council Trading Standards supported by the National Trading Standards Investigation Team Wales.

Allan John Coutts, 60, of Park Road, Sandhurst, Berkshire, was found guilty of breaches of the Fraud Act 2006 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 earlier this month. Coutts ran a tarmac repair business between February 2015 and August 2016, trading under several names including Roadmac Construction Limited, A. Coutts Tarmac Division and Roads, and Drives & Asphalting in a deliberate attempt to avoid detection.

The defendant used a lorry specifically designed to resemble an ‘official’ vehicle (pictured), such as that used by the Highways Agency, to cold call customers to try and obtain driveway repair work. He would select secluded properties in remote areas with longer driveways to maximise profit and minimise the chances of being caught. Consumers targeted were often elderly or retired and were told their driveways could be repaired cheaply with excess supplies of materials.

The work, which often took only hours to complete, was consistently of an extremely poor standard, with just loose stone chippings applied to existing driveways with no solution used to hold it in place. Customers would later discover the work they had paid for with a ‘five-year guarantee’ was worthless. Coutts preferred customers to pay in cash, with some customers even accompanied to local banks to withdraw money.

County Councillor James Evans, Portfolio Holder for Powys County Councillor and responsible for Trading Standards, said: “Our team has worked effectively in partnership with National Trading Standards to bring a rogue trader down, with a view to preventing him trading again and ripping off other vulnerable people, and also to compensate the victims who have already been caught. I commend all involved in this action to protect our streets from rogue traders and to further support our legitimate traders.”

Clive Jones, Professional Lead Trading Standards Community Safety and emergency planning said: “Coutts targeted Powys first and after ripping off our communities expanded his appalling trading methods to other parts of the UK. What he did not predict was the tenacity of our investigators and that of our colleagues regionally as we will not tolerate our residents being subject to criminal practice.”

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