A COWBOY builder who carried out “utterly disgraceful” work on a family’s home after his slick website promised to carry out five-star improvements is behind bars.

Leonard Price, formerly known as Leonard Jones, aged 47, from Pontypool, was slammed by a judge for leaving his victim highly stressed and £22,000 out of pocket.

Prosecutor Matthew Roberts said the rogue trader hoodwinked the complainant by pretending he was from what appeared to be a respected business called Ideal Home Improvement Wales.


But Newport Crown Court heard how the company was a sham and its website used images of impressive work carried out by other builders.

Mr Roberts told how one picture was actually taken from a blogger called Another American in France.

The prosecutor said: “The Ideal Home Improvement Wales website purported to have nine office addresses throughout South Wales and Hereford.

“It claimed to be a reputable company with a significant regional presence. The truth was completely the opposite.”

Judge Daniel Williams heard how the victim, from Cwmfelinfach, had asked Price to work on his kitchen, balcony and basement.

Price, of Rose Cottages, admitted misleading commercial action and misleading commercial practice offences under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

They were committed in 2017.

The investigation into him was carried out when the complainant contacted Caerphilly trading standards.

In a report, Price’s shoddy work was condemned as having a “total disregard for the health and safety of the occupants”.

In a victim impact statement, the complainant said: “This has had a detrimental and severe effect on every part of our lives.”

He told how he has had to spend another £15,000 on materials to put the shoddy work right which he is having to carry out himself.

Mr Roberts said the defendant had 10 previous convictions for 16 offences, including animal cruelty, poaching and assault.

Price was jailed for four years in 2013 for the production of cannabis.

Donal Lawler, mitigating, said the delay in the case coming to court occurred after his client experienced “Kafkaesque” problems over legal aid.

His barrister added: “The defendant wishes to recompense the victim in full. He is terrified by the prospect of prison.”

Judge Williams told Price: “The complainant in the case was taken in by your website and then he was taken in by you.

“You presented yourself as substantial and reputable, rather than the cowboy which you are.

“This has caused great disruption to the victim and his family who has been left to do the work himself.

“He said this has had a detrimental effect on every aspect of their lives – you simply don’t care.”

The judge said that Price’s earlier attempts to persuade the court he was unfit to face trial were “almost comic”.

He added: “The work you carried out was utterly disgraceful and the harm you have caused is significant.”

Price was jailed for 15 months and ordered to hand over £5,000 in compensation which was readily available for the victim.