A BUILDER who left two Penarth families thousands of pounds out of pocket has avoided jail.

Daniel Marshall, 34, of Trem Elai in Penarth, appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on Monday having pleaded guilty to unfair commercial practice and providing misleading descriptions.

Both families hired Marshall in 2015 with Ms Vander wanting a loft conversion which Marshall said he would be able to do for £19,740 and that it would be finished in eight to 10 weeks.

A labourer who Marshall had hired was unable to get down from the scaffolding so Marshall made a hole in the roof, without permission, for him to climb through.

Lee Reynolds, prosecuting, said: “He left the house exposed to the elements. Tarpaulin was placed over the hole but water continued to enter the property during bad weather.

Mr Reynolds continued: “A second payment of £6,500 was made in mid October. It was then that Marshall began to let her down. He wasn’t attending as agreed and made various excuses. He told her that he was arranging for someone else to carry out the work.

Officers from building control saw the work and described it as “awful.”

Representatives from Vale Consultancy said the work was well bellow that of accepted industry standards, an example of poor workmanship and showed a lack of understanding of basic techniques and practice.

Mr Reynolds said: “Ms Vander’s property was left for more than three months. She was forced to move out. It was five months before it was watertight again.

“The work has cost £30,000 more than it should have done.

Mrs Strabel needed to have work done on her bathroom and contacted Marshall in September.

Mr Reynolds said: “He gave the impression he was confident and competent. He said it would be done in two weeks but that they would have to leave for four days.”

They were quoted £4750 and the first payment of £1800 was made in early November but when Mrs Strabel arrived home one day, she noticed that the bathroom had been completely removed.

A second payment of £1500 was made but then it looked as if the work had stopped.

Mr Reynolds said: “Very little progress had been made and Marshall continued to make various excuses but by December Mrs Strabel was at her wits end.”

They had no washing facilities, the boiler was dangerously hot and the water supply was coming from the radiators with £6600 needed to rectify it.

Mr Reynolds said obtaining compensation for the two families from Marshall was unlikely given his financial position.

Judge Eleri Rees said: “Two families found themselves the victims of your incompetence as a builder.

“There were shocking levels of incompetence and shoddy workmanship.”

She said he had caused a “catalogue of misery, distress and inconvenience”.

He was given 42 weeks imprisonment suspended for 18 months, a curfew requirement and ordered to pay £2,500 costs and a £140 surcharge.