A South West tradesman has been jailed for more than three years after he admitted running a fraudulent business. Daniel Denison appeared at Bristol Crown Court this week where he was sentenced for a number of offences relating to incidents between October 1, 2016 and April 30, 2018.
The court heard how the 60-year-old from Kingsteignton, Devon, was paid significant amounts of money by homeowners for building work which he either failed to complete or never even started. Denison took substantial deposits from customers before delivering building works to a poor standard, failing to apply for planning permission when required, requesting additional payments for so-called ‘extras’ or leaving jobs unfinished.
Completion deadlines for building work were missed and calls from his victims were repeatedly ignored. Denison, some of his victims were from Plymouth, was handed a 43 month custodial sentence and a Criminal Behaviour Order for 10 years.
Denison used ratedpeople.com to obtain leads for work and would send out a salesman to provide a quote for the job. Once the customer agreed to the work, they paid a 10 percent deposit and whilst in some cases works did commence, frequently it would then be months before they heard anything from Denison, with completion deadlines passing before works even commenced. For eight victims, no works were ever carried out, yet no refund was ever forthcoming.
The court heard that Denison would become increasingly hard to contact, with workers sporadically turning up on site. Further demands for money would be made despite the slow progress and poor quality of work not matching the sums already handed over. When customers refused to pay over more money, he would withdraw builders from the site and, on many occasions, never return to complete the job. This left customers helpless, with most having to pay out more money to other tradesmen to finish the job.
Prosecutors said that whilst there were customers who did have jobs completed, Denison would frequently demand further sums for ‘extras’ and fail to return to rectify issues. Building work that was carried out was to a substandard quality, including:
* a plank being the only access to the property for months for an elderly lady who required the use of a wheelchair
* brick ties being incorrectly installed throughout all walls of an extension resulting in Building Control condemning it and it having to be knocked down.
* A gas hob being removed with the gas fittings being left live
* Electrics being installed into an extension that didn’t have a roof and thus was open to the elements
* Foundations dug and left so long they had to be refilled by another company
* French doors fitted incorrectly resulting in water draining into the house.
An investigation led by the National Trading Standards South West Regional Investigations Team, hosted by Bristol City Council, identified a total of 18 victims from Plymouth, Exeter, Bristol, Bath and across the south west, who suffered financial losses totalling £135,000.
Wendy Martin, Director, National Trading Standards, said: “Mr Denison deliberately deceived trusting homeowners who handed over hard earned money for building work that was either never started or left unfinished. As a result, homeowners have lost significant sums of money.
“Today’s sentence is another reminder that this type of criminality will not go unpunished, and I hope it brings some semblance of justice to the victims. If you or someone you know, has fallen victim to a fraud like this you should report it to the Citizens Advice consumer service helpline by calling 0808 223 1133.”
Mayor Marvin Rees, who has responsibility for regulatory services at Bristol City Council, said: “This investigation found victims spread across the region, which shows the importance and effectiveness of the National Trading Standards South West Regional Investigations Team.
“People looking to make home improvements trusted Mr Denison and paid him in good faith. What they received in return was poor work or no work at all. The sentence handed to him reflects the seriousness of this case.
“We are proud to host the regional team on behalf of the South West in Bristol, helping to protect consumers across the region, and I congratulate the team for their professionalism in bringing such a prolific offender to justice.”