Victims of a cowboy builder who caused ‘untold misery’ to customers in South Yorkshire applauded in court as he was jailed for five years.
Wayne Smith cheated customers to the tune of £170,000 and left one of his victim’s homes “virtually uninhabitable”.
Smith defrauded 14 customers by taking deposits for as much as £30,000 for work he never completed or never bothered to finish once started.
As a result, many of his victims were forced to shell out thousands of pounds so that reputable tradesmen could finish the work. One victim’s house was left in a ‘virtually uninhabitable’ state, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Smith, 47, continued his deceptions even after he was interviewed by Trading Standards team about his conduct in April 2014.
Smith, of Doncaster Road, Barnsley, headed construction firms Build4 and Constellation Construction despite being banned from working as a company director after going bankrupt previously.
David Hercock, prosecuting, said Smith admitted in a later police interview he had been ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ due to the financial difficulties his companies were in.
Mark Ford, defending, said Smith had previously been a successful builder but developed an alcohol problem around 2006 leading his workmanship to deteriorate.
He said Smith’s business was also affected after he was featured on BBC show ‘Cowboy Builders’.
Jailing him for five years, Recorder Simon Batiste told Smith: “I’m told the money is now all gone.
“These offences have caused untold misery. I’m satisfied you are a thoroughly dishonest man.”
His wife Lisa, who acted as a company director, was originally charged as part of the case, but was later found not guilty after the prosecution decided not to offer any evidence against her following her husband’s guilty pleas.
Some of Smith’s victims were in the public gallery as sentence was passed and applauded the judge after he jailed the rogue trader for five years.
They described the result as ‘fantastic’ as they left court.