TWO men who charged a Monmouth man more than 20 times the real cost of building work they carried out have been jailed.

The 'vulnerable' 61-year-old victim handed over £47,000 to Charlie Lee and his 17-year-old accomplice for work carried out to his roof, gutters, garden and path.

A surveyor from Monmouthshire County Council estimated the value of the work to be no more than £2,200.

Nineteen-year-old Lee, of Justin caravan park in Northampton and his partner, who cannot be named for legal reasons, used false names and urged the victim to withdraw large amounts of money via bank transfer.

An investigation was launched when the bank raised concerns about the money going out of the account.

Lee admitted one count of fraud and his accomplice pleaded guilty to the same charge and one of concealing criminal property.

The 19-year-old was sentenced to 19 months in jail and his co-accuse received a detention training order and 18 months in custody by a judge at Newport Crown Court.

The pair had taken advantage of their victim to steal £47,000 between September 14 and October 8 last year, prosecutor Matthew Cobbe told the court.

The victim contacted Monmouth Citizens' Advice Bureau which referred him to the county council's Trading Standards department.

Trading Standards officers immediately suspected serious fraud and worked with police to track down and arrest the conmen.

Monmouthshire's Trading Standards service team leader Gareth Walters said: "We are very keen to reduce the incidence of rogue trading and will work closely with the police and residents. 

"The sentences given by the court in this case reflect the serious nature of the crime.

"Residents should contact 03454 04 05 06 or email tradingstandards if they suspect that rogue traders have subjected them to fraud of this kind.


"If they experience an approach and feel threatened or intimidated dialling 101 or even 999 should be considered in the first instance.  

"There are now nearly 30 cold calling control zones in Monmouthshire.  If you would like your street, area, or even village considered for a zone please contact us on 01633 644102."