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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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Recycling plant closed after collision

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LLANELLI RECYCLING CENTRE is currently closed following a road traffic collision outside.

Police and collision investigation teams are at the scene, but no further details have been made available at this stage.

Carmarthenshire Roads Policing Unit said that the location would be closed ‘until further notice’. ‏


A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police said: “Dyfed-Powys Police was called to Trostre Industrial Park at 2.12pm following a report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle.

“The ambulance service is also in attendance, and the road leading to the recycling centre is currently closed.”

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Modern and traditional methods used by Neighbourhood Watch groups

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TRADITIONAL monthly meetings and Facebook groups might seem worlds apart, but these are the methods two Carmarthenshire communities are using to keep their neighbours safe.

As part of Neighbourhood Watch Week, the long-standing Glanmor group and the newer Llwynhendy and Pemberton group have shared the secrets to their success – be it through old-school meetings or the reach of social media.

Jason Hart helped to set up the Llwynhendy and Pemberton Neighbourhood Watch group last summer following a spate of burglaries in the area. Although he admits it was slow to get off the ground using traditional means, the launch of a Facebook group saw the scheme take off.

“We still hold monthly meetings, but we found we have more of an impact on social media,” he said. “We set the Facebook group up and had over 400 members in a couple of weeks.

“A lot of people who work or who have children can’t make it to our meetings, so for them a Facebook group is ideal.”

Members are approved before joining, and can then post on the group’s timeline. Mr Hart explained that it gives people the opportunity to raise issues or concerns if they are unable to attend the evening meetings.

“They post about things like suspicious vehicles in the area, or if they have seen someone trying car doors, and we will then report it to the police,” he said. “We also feed in information from the police if something has happened, and people let us know if they have seen or heard anything.”

The success of the group is such that people living in the neighbouring community of Bryn have asked for it to expand.

Mr Hart said: “We will invite them to come along to our meetings to see how it works, and if there is enough interest they can break off and form their own group. It’s great that people think it’s working and want to see it covering their area too.”

Meetings are held from 5pm at the Bryn and Trallwm Social Club on the third Tuesday of the month, and the Facebook group can be found by searching Llwynhendy and Pemberton Neighbourhood Watch.

Over on the other side of Llanelli is the longstanding Glanmor Neighbourhood Watch group, which has been running for the past 17 years. The watch covers Nelson Terrace, Richmond Terrace, Llys yr Orsaf, Llys y Gof and part of Bryn Road, does not use social media and stands by the routine of monthly meetings.

Group coordinator John Jones said: “We had a lot of trouble in the area at that time, and everyone was complaining to me as I was a magistrate. We decided that the best way forward was to set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme so people could meet regularly and discuss any problems in the community.

“It went from there, and we are still going 17 years later.

“The number of people who attend depends on what problems there are each month, but there is a core membership who always comes along. We aim to deal with issues straight away.”

Meetings are held at The Cambrian, in Marine Street, at 6.30pm on the first Monday of the month – unless it is a bank holiday, when it will be held the following Monday.

Sergeant Dawn Fencot-Price, of the Dyfed-Powys Police Crime and Harm Reduction Team, said: “We would like to thank both Neighbourhood Watch groups for their support in keeping our communities safe.

“It is great to see people working together in this way, sharing crime prevention messages and looking out for each other.

“We are always looking for innovative ways of keeping our communities safe. If you’re interested in setting up a Neighbourhood Watch group, or have an idea you think might work in your area, contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101.”

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3,000 Welsh landlords still unregistered

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JANET FINCH-SAUNDERS AM has called on the Welsh Government to urgently work to improve landlord registration under Rent Smart Wales, as estimates released indicate around 3,000 remain unregistered.

Ms Finch-Saunders said: “Rent Smart Wales estimates that still 3,000 landlords are unregistered here in Wales.

“Whilst that makes up a small percentage of our total landlords, it is most concerning for those living in properties leased to them by those who have not yet registered.

“The Welsh Government has confirmed that a landlord who is not registered with Rent Smart Wales is unable to serve a valid Section 21 eviction notice – so where unregistered landlords do indicate that they want tenants to vacate a property, this is not recognised by local housing associations, which can cause stress to tenants who may not be aware of their full rights under the law.

“By focusing on ensuring that all landlords are properly registered, the Welsh Government can alleviate such concerns, and I will be urging the Cabinet Secretary to act to ensure all landlords are abiding by this legislation in full.”

The Minister for Housing and Regeneration told Ms Finch-Saunders that the latest figures released by Rent Smart Wales show that 90,812 landlords are now registered. Rent Smart Wales’ latest estimate for the number of unregistered landlords is approximately 3,000.

This is based on the dwelling stock estimates recently published by StatsWales, and an estimation of the average number of properties owned by each landlord.

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