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Local rogue builder given suspended prison sentence

Cardiff Crown Court

Following an investigation by Shared Regulatory Services (SRS), Blaengarw builder, Drew Joyce, has received a sentence of nine months imprisonment, which has been suspended for two years.

In a case brought by Bridgend County Borough Council, Joyce was charged with offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, relating to the uncompleted jobs which he had started in both 2019 and 2020.

Cardiff Crown Court heard of the misery Drew Joyce inflicted on two residents after they agreed for him to undertake building work and home improvements. Both residents described how Joyce failed to complete the work to their properties, leaving one of them uninhabitable.

In addition, Joyce had claimed money from one of the residents, stating that he had already paid for windows when this was not the case, and he failed to notify either of the residents of their cancellation rights.

Initially, Joyce entered ‘not guilty’ pleas on most of the charges. This meant that a Crown Court trial was set for July of this year.  However, just a week before the trial was due to commence Joyce entered further guilty pleas.

During the recent sentencing hearing, the court was told of the significant financial detriment the homeowners have suffered after choosing Drew Joyce to work at their properties. One of the victims explained how a small pension had been cashed in to pay Joyce to fit a new kitchen diner, but the work was never completed. They had been left feeling like their world had fallen apart and the stress they experienced was incredible.

The second victim read out their victim impact statement in court, detailing the mental and financial distress that the defendant had caused to the family. They described how their home was left uninhabitable and how it will cost between £30,000 to £40,000 to correct Joyce’s work. They continued to say that they had been made ill by the whole experience and described how the family had been forced to live with different relatives for all of this time, putting a strain on family life.

As well as being sentenced to a total of nine months imprisonment which has been suspended for two years, Drew Joyce has also been ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. A Proceeds of Crime Act timetable has been set which should include consideration of compensation for the two victims.

In sentencing, His Honour, Judge Khan, said that he found the victim impact statements to be particularly powerful, and the emotional pain that both families had suffered was evident.  He told the defendant that he had a moral and legal responsibility to those that employed him but accepted that he had not acted fraudulently from the start.  He acknowledged that the defendant had no previous convictions; had entered a guilty plea, albeit late; had shown remorse and that he was now studying for an alternative career.

Welcoming the outcome of the prosecution, Councillor Rhys Goode, Cabinet Member for Housing Planning and Regeneration, and Chair of the Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee, said: “Once again, this case demonstrates the importance of choosing a reputable trader when contemplating any work in the home. Both the residents have been through an extremely difficult time, personally and financially, as a result of the incompetence of Drew Joyce, as well as the fact that he simply walked away from the jobs rather than completing them.

“The outcome in this case should serve as a wake-up call for any other rogue traders contemplating work in the county borough – complaints of this nature will be investigated by our Shared Regulatory Service and appropriate action will be taken.”