A man in his 60s was conned into handing over more than £16,000 after rogue traders claimed it was for work on his property.
Tony Jones, 27, and 45-year-old Peter Roberts, both of Briton Ferry, pleaded guilty to fraud last year, and were sentenced at Swansea Crown Court today.
Jones was jailed for nine months and Roberts for 12 months.
Police were first alerted to a possible fraud by the bank branch where the victim, a 67-year-old from Penllergaer – who died before Jones and Roberts pleaded guilty – had gone to withdraw cash in order to pay what had been demanded of him.
The duo had demanded thousands of pounds as payment for work such as cleaning gutters and turfing the garden.
But bank staff contacted the police after the victim visited the branch five times in the course of a week to draw out cash.
And they reported their suspicions under the Banking Protocol, a collaboration between financial institutions and the police to help protect people who may be being exploited. The work also forms part of South Wales Police's Operation Signature, which protects vulnerable victims of fraud.
An investigation by an expert chartered surveyor indicated the work carried out by the pair was of a value up to 16 times less than the total of £20,000 the victim had been asked to pay. Of that total sum, £16,400 was handed over.
The victim died before the matter came to court.
Detective Constable Victoria Bayly, the officer in the case, said: “Jones and Roberts preyed on their victim, whom they targeted because they thought he was vulnerable, and pressurised him into withdrawing thousands of pounds to pay for work they didn't have any intention of doing.
“Sadly, the victim has passed away since this fraud took place, and so the burden has passed on to his wife, who has had to deal both with the loss of her husband and the financial implications.
“Safeguarding victims, particularly those who are vulnerable, is a priority for South Wales Police, and I am pleased that Jones and Roberts have been brought to justice.
“I would urge anyone who has any suspicions that they or a loved one is being targeted by rogue traders or other fraudsters to tell police or Action Fraud, so that perpetrators of these types of offence can continue to be dealt with by the courts.”