Rogue trader who conned elderly residents out of life savings handed suspended jail sentence

Broken roof tiles caused by work to a property in Woodstock. Credit: Reading Borough Council

A rogue trader who attempted to scam six elderly residents out of more than £200,000 has been sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

Levi Davies, 24, of Manor Park, Kidlington, pleaded guilty on behalf of his companies, LJ Building Services and latterly, Manor Property Services, at Reading Magistrates’ Court.

An investigation launched in 2019 by Reading Council Trading Standards and Thames Valley Police officers identified six elderly and vulnerable residents from Reading and across southern England targeted by Mr Davies over a three-year period, between 2016 and 2019.

He persuaded vulnerable and elderly residents to employ him to carry out building and maintenance work to their homes, charging them extortionate prices for substandard and unnecessary work.

Several victims used some of their life savings to pay for work carried out, with one Reading resident being charged more than £196,950.

In June 2019, Sheila Cooper, 78, was cold-called at her park home by Mr Davies, who quoted her £2,000 to repaint her home with weatherproof paint.

Mr Davies went on to charge Ms Cooper a total of £7,250 for structural works, which were later assessed to be worth only £480.

Sheila said: "Trading Standards were there for me when I worried, and when I thought Levi was going to return, they put me at ease."

Leaflet distributed to homes advertising Manor Property Services Credit: Reading Borough Council

Cllr Karen Rowland, Lead Councillor for Environmental Services and Community Safety, said: "These cases highlight the very serious problem with rogue traders targeting elderly and vulnerable residents and defrauding them into parting with thousands of pounds by making false and misleading claims.

"Residents are reminded to always thoroughly research any company or business before hiring them to carry out work. Our advice is never to agree to work without getting written quotes from two or three reputable traders and compare them."

In addition to the suspended sentence, Levi Davies was handed 250 hours of unpaid work, as well as £2,000 in costs, plus a victim surcharge.

He was also ordered to pay £66,560 in compensation to four of the victims he targeted, to be paid within 28 days.