A builder who carried out inadequate and unsafe work on a chimney, just months after appearing at Swansea Crown Court for a similar offence, has today, Thursday, been sentenced to ten months in prison.
Judge His Honour Geraint Walters heard that Scott Keane, of St Davids close, Hakin, Milford Haven, had been handed down a six-month suspended sentence in January for four counts of unfair trading and ordered to pay £6,000 compensation.
However just months later Keane, 42, was asked to remove a chimney and make the roof safe on a terraced property in Milford Haven.
Keane charged the house owner £1,500 for the work and said that he would be able to match the tiles with those already on the roof.
He did not provide any paperwork for the job, despite being asked to by the householder, who paid the money into Keane’s personal account.
The court heard that in doing the work Keane had removed bricks from below the roof line and gone into a neighbour’s attic space.
Keane said that he would ‘try to sort things out’ but that he didn’t do brickwork in attic spaces.
The customer later checked the front of the roof and saw that there were problems with the lead work and that the work did not match the original roof.
He asked Keane to make good his mistakes but had no joy. A roofing inspection found the work to be of poor quality and unsafe, as the removal of internal chimney bricks meant that there was a lack of fire break.
The customer was told that it would cost £1,500 plus VAT to rectify the work.
Keane also admitted carrying out another shoddy roofing job previous to his prior conviction.
In this case he was paid £1,950 to replace a flat felt roof with a fibreglass one that could also be used as a terrace.
He failed to use the correct materials, even down to using nails that were too short, and had failed to install the leadwork or fibreglass correctly.
He also failed to rectify the issues when asked by the customer. The roof had to be taken off and completely redone, costing the customer £2,065.
In mitigation Keane’s barrister, John Tarrant, said that his client made a rash decision to take on the chimney work believing that there was some degree of urgency.
He added that Keane was struggling to find work following the publicity of his previous court hearing, was struggling to pay the £6,000 compensation and had taken on the work to ‘solve his financial problems’.
He added that Keane had offered to recompense his victim and was now in employment.
Judge Walters said that the work that Keane had carried out was ‘woefully inadequate’ in both cases and that in the case of the chimney removal Keane was not ‘competent enough to do the work properly’.
“You had no business in the early stages of a suspended sentence to go back and carry out an identical offence. The need to obtain money does not excuse it,” he said.
“The house holder is out of pocket regretting the day he invited you over to look at his chimney.”
He added that he did not believe that Keane had the means to pay the £6,460 costs associated with this case or the necessary compensation.
He took Keane’s early guilty pleas to all six unfair trading charges into account when imposing sentence.
Judge Walters handed down three months in prison for the flat roof offence and six months for the chimney offence, to run concurrently.
He also activated four months of the suspended prison sentence to run consecutively, giving a total of ten months in prison.
He added that Keane would remain on licence for one year after his release.
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