Cowboy builder jailed at Cardiff Crown Court

A rogue builder who duped four victims out of just under £15,000 has been sent to prison for three years.

Alan John Freeman, 63, from Mynachdy in Cardiff, was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court, last Friday, March 25th.

Freeman, operating through the company name, ‘Alexander Building Maintenance’ – requested a significant deposit from his victims for work to their homes, often carrying out work without the correct qualifications or a licence from Natural Resources Wales to remove waste from their property.

In all four cases, Freeman quoted a ‘very reasonable price’ for the work, with half of the cost being requested upfront to pay for building materials and labour costs. Very little work was carried out on these properties and the work that was done was ‘unskilled’, often requiring remedial works to be carried out by a qualified builder to finish or correct work done by Freeman.

The court heard that Alan Freeman has previous convictions for similar trading standards offences in 2015 and committed a further offence when he failed to attend court in July 2021 when he was on bail.

In defence, Freeman’s barrister, Derrick Gooden, told the court that the defendant accepted his guilty pleas and took responsibility for the thefts. The court was told that he had several health difficulties, especially with his heart. His defence maintained that Freeman never intended to target vulnerable people and had simply placed an advert which the victims responded to and, due to his health issues, he had now given up working in the building trade and was forced to declare bankruptcy.

A spokesperson for the Shared Regulatory Service, acting as the Prosecuting Authority in this case, said: “Alan Freeman is the epitome of a cowboy builder, claiming to be a qualified electrician while carrying out electrical works, as well as a qualified builder, when in fact, he didn’t actually build anything.

“In fact, Mr Freeman took money off his victims, and literally left, often after a couple of days of work, giving excuses and then literally disappearing without trace. In the one case, when he did respond to one of his victims when issues were raised, he took even more money from them to repair a fault, which he probably caused, but the work wasn’t carried out.

“Our advice to anyone who wants to have work carried out their property is to employ a qualified builder. Never give payment in advance to cover work materials or labour and always get three quotes for any work to your home. If it sounds too good to be true, it more than likely is.”

The sentencing hearing took place at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday March 25th, following the defendant pleading guilty to four counts of theft and one count of fraud on March 3rd, 2022.