Home » Builder swindled homeowners out of over £25,000 in cash for ‘abysmal and catastrophic work’
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Builder swindled homeowners out of over £25,000 in cash for ‘abysmal and catastrophic work’

A builder and landscaper who swindled two home owners out of £25,000 in cash for what amounted to ‘‘abysmal work, with no evidence of competence or skill’ has been given three weeks to gather sufficient compensation for his victims.

Failure to do so, according to Crown Court Judge Paul Thomas, will result in an immediate custodial sentence.

This afternoon Nicholas Rees, 36,  appeared before Swansea Court where he pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud by false representation to Rev Alfred Williams, and an additional charge of fraud by false representation to Mr Gareth Miller.  Both men reside in Resolven.  Rees admitted an additional charge of the theft of £3,000 from Rev Williams.

The offences stemmed back to September, 2020 when the Rev Williams requested Rees – who claimed to be the director of ‘Total Landscaping Solutions Ltd – to construct steps at the rear of his property together with new fencing, a retaining wall, a fish pond and a water feature.  The total cost of the work amounted to just under £15,500.

Rev Williams’ wife paid Rees a cash deposit amounting to £6,5000 while the remainder would be paid in two separate instalments as the work proceeded.

But according to Judge Paul Thomas, the speed at which Rees carried out the work was exceptionally slow.

The problem was further exacerbated by the fact that Rev Williams began noticing that elements of the work being carried out were failing to meet the required standard.

A chartered surveyor was eventually instructed to inspect the work, and his report was damning.

“Most of the work was inferior and sub-standard and would have to be repaired and completed by competent tradesmen,” said Judge Paul Thomas. 

“There appeared to be no understanding of domestic building or landscaping work of this nature, and the steps that had been built were simply not fit for purpose and were susceptible to catastrophic and sudden collapse.  There was no evidence of competence or skill.”

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In June 2021, Rees was contacted by Mr Gareth Miller who requested him to construct a new patio at his property. He was told that this would cost him £15,000.

Mr Miller was requested to pay half up front via a bank transfer with the remainder following in subsequent payments.

But once again, the quality of workmanship began to be questioned by Mr Miller. Rees agreed to rectify his substandard work, however this failed to materialise, with Rees stating he would be unable to complete the work as his company was being folded as a result of non-payments.  This turned out to be a lie.

The total sum lost by Rev Alfred Williams was in the region of £12,500 while the total amount lost by Mr Miller was approximately £13,300.

After listening to the evidence, Justice Thomas adjourned his sentencing for a further three weeks.

“The priority is to get some money back to those who’ve lost it,” he said.

“There must be genuine and tangible efforts to recompense those that have been swindled, and this will help determine whether or not his sentence will be custodial or suspended.”

Sentencing will take place on March 23.