A JUDGE branded a roofer who defrauded his elderly victims out of a combined £20,600 “a liar, a thief and a conman”.

Danny McClelland, 30, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud between March and July 2021.

The first of his victims – who was 73 at the time – was charged £14,750 for work carried out by McClelland and two other men under the guise of Weathershield Roofing and Property Maintenance.

Lee Reynolds, prosecuting, said the victim received a cold call from McClelland saying that he was working on a nearby property and noticed a broken roof tile which he could repair.

While on the roof, the defendant pulled up some of the ridge tiles, saying they were loose, and said he could fix them, Mr Reynolds said.

He said the roof needed to be washed down and painted, but he wasn’t available to do this until October that year. But a few days later, at 8.30am, the victim was woken up by McClelland at the door suggesting it was best to replace the roof.

Mr Reynolds said the roof had recently had work completed on it in 2011 and 2016.

McClelland faked a call from his boss, and came back and told the defendant he would have to pay £11,000 across two cheques. The first, he ordered, was to be made out to himself, while the second was made out to a man who the victim had never met.

A few days later, McClelland called the victim saying he “had embarrassed him” as he was out buying materials and the money hadn’t cleared. He told the victim to get his bank to approve it.

In around May 2021, the victim was asked to pay a further £3,750 – although he did not know what that was for.

The victim described McClelland’s attendance for the work at his house as “extremely sporadic”, adding “often weeks would go by without them working at all”.

In a statement read out in court, the victim said: “By the time Danny finished with me he had run my savings down.”

“Following an inspection, it became very clear that the workmanship was very poor,” said Mr Reynolds.

He added that – if done to an acceptable standard – the work shouldn’t have cost any more than just over £2,000. The victim had to pay £10,700 to rectify the work done by McClelland.

The second victims were neighbours of the first victim on Bron Y Glyn, and approached McClelland over concerns they had about a roof tile.

McClelland responded on July 20, 2021, and the two men with him removed the roof tile without permission. He then said “as a result of removing the suspect tile, three other tiles were needed,” Mr Reynolds said.

Initially, the invoice the couple received did not contain a description of the work, and no information was given to the couple – in their early 80s and late 70s – about their cancellation rights.

McClelland asked them to pay the £1,750 in cash, then by bank transfer – both of which the victims refused to do. They made out a cheque for that amount to Weathershield Roofing and Property Maintenance.

The man, 83, said he “felt sick” at the “outrageous” cost, and reported McClelland to Trading Standards. He added he had “lost faith in humanity” as a result of the scam.

An inspection found the new felt and tiles “appeared to be correctly fitted, but the work did not appear to be needed,” Mr Reynolds said, adding it should not have cost more than £340.

On July 19, McClelland attended a voluntary interview, and told police “the work was necessary and fairly charged,” Mr Reynolds said.

While the investigation was ongoing, Ceredigion County Council brought forward a third victim – in her mid-70s – who ended up £4,100 out of pocket.

She phoned McClelland – trading as Weathershield – after seeing his van, and asked about some work on the roof of a cabin in her garden.

He attended with two men, and said they could start right away, and did not take money up front. He didn’t give her a quote.

After taking the roofing off, he “started demanding £1,300”, Mr Reynolds said. The victim said she reminded him that he’d said he took no money up front, but he said he needed it for materials.

He asked for a further £2,000 on April 19 – demanding it in cash when offered a cheque. He later asked for a further £800 for materials. She felt this was expensive and asked for the name of the supplier, but he refused to give it to her.

She called him that night asking again for the name of the supplier, and when he refused, she called him “a liar, a thief and a conman”.

The next day he returned £200 to her, saying he didn’t want her to think he was a thief.

Mr Reynolds said McClelland didn’t complete the work. The metal sheets on the roof didn’t meet, leaving a “large gap” between them causing the roof to leak and damaging inside.

It has not yet been calculated how much it would cost to fix McClelland’s work.

The court heard McClelland has one previous conviction. This was also for fraud, relating to an 85-year-old widower, who was registered blind, and work he claimed to have carried out at the victim’s home – quoted at £4,750 but in reality worth £291.50. He was serving a suspended sentence for this when these most recent offences took place.

He had also received a caution in March 2018 following a Trading Standards consumer cancellation rights investigation.

Ian Ibrahim, defending said McClelland had been a roofer for nine years and had completed “hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs”.

“His finances at the time were in tatters,” he said. “This was in the period coming out of Covid.

“He was self-employed with two young children and his wife. It was an extraordinarily hard time.”

He added McClelland’s finances were still in a “very poor state”.

“The money from these frauds was not spent on a lavish lifestyle – simply paying bills,” Mr Ibrahim said – to which Judge Paul Thomas replied it would make little difference to his victims.

“One of your victims described you as a liar, a thief and a conman, and that, Mr McClelland, sums you up,” said Judge Thomas.

“You charged £14,750 to do work which, if it was to be done properly, would cost no more than a few thousand pounds.

“You complain now about the financial impact this will have on your family.  

“The work you did was wholly inadequate. He now has to find £10,000 to put it right.”

Referencing McClelland’s previous offending, Judge Thomas said: “The only way to stop you doing these things is to make sure you are not in a position to do it at all – i.e. being sent to prison.

“It will have an effect [on your family] but I’m afraid it is down to you alone.”

McClelland, of Cilcennin in Lampeter, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for the first offence, and 16 months in prison – running concurrently – for the other two offences.

For breaching his suspended sentence, he was handed three months in prison, running concurrently.