They included a 71-year-old Solihull woman he cold-called on January 10 last year offering to carry out roof repairs and tile jet-washing for Â£1,200.
But over the space of several days Smith âˆ’ who used the alias â€˜Michaelâ€™ âˆ’ convinced her to agree more dubious work, like a Â£150 “weed sealant” that saw him simply splash a mystery solution over her driveway from a watering can.
He eventually left the Knowle pensioner with a demand for Â£2,300.
Police arrested the 24-year-old âˆ’ a traveller whose last known address was in Earl Barton, Northampton âˆ’ on 1 February after heâ€™d escorted an 83-year-old Solihull lady to her bank in the hope of getting away with a cash lump sum for more dodgy work.
However, an astute cashier became suspicious, refused to hand over the money and passed his vanâ€™s details to police âˆ’ and Smith was later stopped in his works vehicle by officers responding to the alert.
He went on to admit one count of fraud by false representation and at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday (July 4) he was jailed for 25 months.
The judge also imposed a Serious Crime Prevention Order that for the next three years bans Smith from touting door-to-door for any kind of building or repair work or for advertising such services âˆ’ and risks more jail time should he flout the order.
And a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) investigation has been launched that forces Smith to prove heâ€™s accrued a sum of Â£33,000 legally. If not, he must pay back the money or face the prospect of more time behind bars.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Mark Delaney from Solihull Police CID, said: “In interview Smith claimed to be an honest trader who gave fair quotes and never pushed or intimidated residents into agreeing maintenance work.
“The reality though was very different: he is a prolific rogue trader who targeted elderly folk he believed he could con by paying huge sums for very poor quality repairs and who were unable or unlikely to check his workmanship.
“One victim described feeling mesmerised by the huge number of leaflets being thrust at her, the speed at which he was talking and the array of work he offered.
“Rogue traders like Smith arenâ€™t â€˜cheeky chappiesâ€™ trying it on and hoping to make a few extra pounds âˆ’ they are calculated, cruel conmen and, as this case shows, we will investigate and push for tough prison sentences.
“And the court recognised the serious nature of Smithâ€™s rogue-trader offending by imposing a Serious Crime Prevention Order. Should he ignore its terms he faces up to five years in jail.”
A chartered building surveyor appointed by DC Delaney to assess Smithâ€™s work concluded a price of Â£400 âˆ’ not Â£2,300 âˆ’ would have been reasonable for jobs claimed to have been undertaken at the 71-year-oldâ€™s Knowle home
The report added: “The work was inappropriateâ€¦pressure washing a roof can create water penetration internally and damage tiles. Workmanship was poor and would provide very limited benefit to the householder who will need the drive re-sanded immediately and attention provided by a competent tradesman to re-fix the verge caps.”
DC Delaney advised against accepting work offers from any cold callers. He said: “If people are looking to get any property maintenance done they should always get at least three quotes and never accept work from people who turn up unannounced.
“They may offer cut price repairs but often victims find the initial quote ends up being hugely inflated further down the lineâ€¦and the rogue traders can be very forceful and intimidate people into handing over cash.