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“Replica gun” toting cowboy builder jailed

A ‘replica gun’ toting, cowboy builder has been sentenced to four years and five months in prison at Cardiff Crown Court for defrauding four victims out of £113,000, after carrying out shoddy and dangerous building work to their Cardiff homes, and for possession of an imitation firearm in an unrelated case.

Daniele Roche, 47, from Porth claimed to a be a qualified bricklayer and capable tradesman who carried out a range of home improvements and building work through his companies – DRJ Builders and DWK Builders.

The court heard last Friday (February 9) that the claims made by Mr Roche were simply untrue. Not only was the defendant not qualified to carry out the work, but he significantly over charged for work he claimed to have taken place, and used pressure tactics and threatening behaviour on his victims when they asked for a refund.

Roche’s criminal behaviour took place between November 2021 until July 2022 and involved four different properties in Cardiff. Subsequent independent evaluations of Roche’s work resulted in two of the properties being deemed unsafe, with value only added to one of the properties when the second elevation of the property was re-rendered.

Mr Roche pleaded guilty to one count of fraud on October 27th, 2023, and guilty to possession of an imitation firearm when he was on bail for this offence on January 24th, 2024.

Cllr Dan De’Ath, Cabinet Member responsible for Shared Regulatory Services at Cardiff Council, said: “This case shows that if people want to have improvements made to their property, please do your research. Always get three quotes for the work that you want carried out, so you can do everything you can to avoid appointing so called builders like Roche.

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“Not only did he con his victims, but he used bully boy tactics, threatening people that we would leave the job halfway through, if further money wasn’t paid. He even threated to bring legal action against his victims when they challenged him on work that he hadn’t carried out and for questioning where appliances where that he claimed to have ordered, but hadn’t.

“The victims had to borrow further money to rectify the faults that Mr Roche had caused, and the Victim Impact Assessments clearly show the stress and anxiety that resulted from his actions. He now has time to reflect on the impact that he has caused his victims from behind bars,” added Cllr De’Ath.

In mitigation, Mr Roche’s Defence Counsel informed the court that the defendant had been a hard-working builder who had become overwhelmed by personal problems and had taken on too much work. He claimed that Mr Roche didn’t intentionally de-fraud his victims from the outset and pleaded guilty to the offences as early as possible.

In sentencing His Honour Judge Petts stated that whilst it was accepted that he became overstretched and overcome by personal problems that was of little comfort to his victims. He had failed to deliver what he had promised to do and had left chaos behind him.

Mr Roche was sentenced to five years imprisonment, reduced to three years and nine months due to his early pleas for the fraud offence and eight months imprisonment for possession of an imitation firearm to run consecutively, giving a total of four years and five months imprisonment.

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