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​ Aggressive ‘cowboy’ builder in court

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Stress made family ill: Dean Burchill with condemned orangery

A LLANELLI company director was found guilty of using aggressive behaviour to his customers and carrying out shoddy work this week.

Ioan Llyr Berry, director of Pearl Home Improvements, also admitted misusing quality marks when he appeared at Swansea Crown Court in a prosecution led by Carmarthenshire Council.

The court heard that a £13,500 orangery he built for one customer had to be demolished for safety reasons.

Berry, of Nightingale Court, Coedcae, was approached by three customers who wanted work carrying out in their property.

Dean Burchell paid £13,500 for him to build an orangery which now has to be demolished as it does not comply with building regulations and poses a significant risk of failure to the sewer and the property.

He also paid him over £2,000 as a deposit to construct a loft conversion which was not returned. Prior to agreeing for the works to be carried out, Mr Burchell was shown a copy of the company’s website that contained the TRUSTMARK logo. However, subsequent enquires found that the company was not a member of TRUSTMARK and therefore not permitted to use the logo.

Unfinished: Builder Berry was called ‘cowboy’ by judge

When Mr Burchell contacted Berry over the phone to express his disappointment at the works carried out, he became verbally abusive and told the consumer ‘ you had better watch your kids’.

Consumer B also contracted with the 33-year-old to build a conservatory which was never built and printed on the contract for works was the FENSA quality logo, neither the company nor Mr Berry are registered with FENSA.

Berry carried out works for Consumer C but used aggressive behaviour on two occasions when trying to obtain payment for the said works.

In summing up the case at crown court on Friday, Judge Chris Clee QC agreed with Consumer A’s referencing of Berry being a cowboy. He said: “I can’t think of a more apt description.”

Berry was convicted of five charges under the consumer protection from unfair trading regulations 2008 – two relating to misuse of quality marks, two relating to aggressive practices and one for poor workmanship. He was given a 12-month community order to run concurrently and his business was fine £10,000 for the five offences.

A compensation order has been made for £18,597.60 for remedial costs to Consumer A.

Mr Burchell contacted The Herald to explain the impact that Berry’s poor workmanship had on his family.

“My wife Alison and myself have four sons, and with the boys growing up, we felt we wanted more space,” he told our reporter.

“An orangery seemed an ideal idea, we had a few quotes and found Ioan Berry on Facebook and asked for him to come out and quote us a price. Things seemed to be reputable with him. He claimed to use the same team constantly to do the work.”

However, as the job approached completion, the Burchells noticed problems with all aspects of the build, from the roof to the floor.

“The plasterboard had been put right up to the window so you couldn’t open it, they’re sash windows. We had people working here on midnight up until Christmas,” he added.

In spite of Berry claiming that he had completed the necessary consultations with CCC and Dwr Cymru, the build was condemned by both.

“We signed the attic first and then the orangery, I had to take a loan out for this,” Mr Burchell said. “We paid in stages up to £13,500. Trading Standards have spoken to a surveyor and this orangery has to come down, there’s no doubt on that. Even the judge in court last Friday said that we have something that’s worthless.

“This has made my entire family ill, we’ve lost money, health and had far too many sleepless nights. We never realised we were dealing with such a cowboy. If me speaking out stops Ioan doing this to another then it’s some comfort. He has to pay us compensation now over a two year period even though he claims he’s bankrupt. He even misused logos on Facebook as he wasn’t registered.”

The council’s executive board member for public protection, Cllr Phillip Hughes, said: “This man conned an innocent consumer out of thousands of pounds and duped other customers into believing they were being provided with good quality work. Our trading standards and legal team have worked tirelessly to bring this man to justice. I hope this serves as a clear message to anyone thinking of carrying out shoddy work, using aggressive behaviour or ripping off their customers – we have the power to stop you in your tracks and we will.”

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Four arrested after mobile phone thefts

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE have arrested four people in connection with two recent thefts of mobile phones from shops in Llanelli and Carmarthen.

At around 7.15pm on Monday (Aug 13) four Apple iPhones were stolen from the Currys PC World store at Parc Pemberton, Llanelli.

10 mobile phones were stolen in a second incident which took place at roughly 9.30am on Tuesday (Aug 14) in the Carphone Warehouse store at St Catherine’s Walk, Carmarthen.

Dyfed-Powys Police strongly believe the incidents to be linked. In both instances, three men, each thought to be in their twenties, made threats to staff members and stole mobile phones.

Dyfed-Powys Police released a statement on Tuesday, saying: “Earlier this evening we arrested three males and one female in connection with the theft of mobile phones from the Carphone Warehouse store in Carmarthen, this morning. It is believed that this may be connected to other thefts at shops in Llanelli, Swansea and Merthyr yesterday and today.

“The vehicle was identified and monitored by police, before we located it at the Elan Valley Reservoir. Property has been recovered and the individuals are now in police custody.

“Officers would like to extend their thanks to those at the Elan Valley Reservoir for their assistance in locating the individuals.

“Please be mindful that criminal proceedings are now active – be cautious when making any comments here.”

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Police investigating mobile phone thefts

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TWO incidents of recent thefts of mobile phones from stores in Llanelli and Carmarthen are being investigated by Dyfed-Powys Police.

Four Apple iPhones were stolen from Currys & PC World store at Parc Pemberton, Llanelli, at around 7.15pm on Monday, August 13.

A second incident took place at the Carphone Warehouse store at St Catherine’s Walk, Carmarthen on Tuesday, August 14, at around 9.30am where 10 mobile phones were stolen.

They are strongly believed to be linked.

In both incidents, three men – believed to be in their 20s – made threats to staff and stole mobile phones.

In the Llanelli incident, one of the suspects was white, medium build, around 5’5” and was wearing a black jacket, grey trousers and a black baseball hat.

The second suspect is white, slim build, around 5’8” with a beard. He was wearing a white T-shirt, black knee length shorts, white trainers and a black baseball cap with a red stripe to side and emblem.

The third man involved is white, slim build, 6’ with a beard. He was wearing a bright blue long-sleeved T-shirt, black shorts, white trainers and a black baseball cap with a red stripe to side and emblem.

In the Carmarthen incident, the three men were wearing light coloured clothing, shorts, trainers and baseball caps.

DI Wayne Bevan said: “Anyone who witnessed either of these incidents, or saw three men matching these descriptions behaving suspiciously in the area, to contact police immediately by calling 101.

“We are investigating all lines of enquiry to catch these offenders and any support from the public could help us find these men and put a stop to any further incidents in our town centre stores.”

Anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Consultation on future of gas network for west Wales enters final week

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PEOPLE from west Wales are being urged to have their say as a public consultation on the future of the local gas network is set to close on Friday (Aug 17).

Wales & West Utilities look after the pipes that bring gas to homes and businesses across Wales and the south west of England. The company has received almost 20,000 responses to its consultation but is now urging as many people as possible to take two minutes to pipe up and shape its plans for the future. Everyone who completes the consultation will be entered into a weekly draw to win a £100 Amazon Gift Card.

The company is asking people to give their views on issues such as the gas emergency service, investment to keep the gas network safe and reliable and how it supports those most in need. It is also seeking views on preparing the gas network for a greener future, making sure it can continue to deliver essential services for generations to come.

Wales & West Utilities charge for their services through consumer gas bills. Currently, their services make up 20% of an annual gas bill – so for the average gas bill of £630, that’s £128 a year – or 35 pence per day.

Graham Edwards, Chief Executive at Wales & West Utilities, explains: “The pipes we look after are mostly underground and out of mind, but we provide an essential service in keeping people safe and warm in their homes and powering businesses. Now, as we plan for the future, we want as many people in West Wales as possible to have their say on the future of their gas network and the services we provide.”

“This consultation is about ensuring our customers’ views are heard so that we plan and work towards getting the balance right between investing to maintain and improve our services and preparing the gas network for the future, while keeping bills low.

“We understand the financial pressure households across the area are under and we remain committed to keeping our portion of the gas bill to a minimum – we have already reduced the cost of our services since 2013 from £145 to £128 today.

“We’re looking forward to hearing customer feedback from West Wales as this will play a vital role in shaping our business for the future.”

Wales & West Utilities also connects around 11,000 homes and businesses to the network each year. And, for customers in need of extra support, the company has a scheme offering low-cost gas connections and financial help for appliance repairs. There is also a priority register to make sure people in vulnerable situations are prioritised when things go wrong.

To have your say on the future of your gas network and the services Wales & West Utilities provides please go to PipeUpOnline.co.uk or Facebook.com/wwutilities and be in with a chance to win a £100 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card.

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