A cowboy roofer has been jailed for ripping off unsuspecting customers, including a pensioner in Stourbridge.
Lee David Gardner, 29, trading as Xpert Roofing of Brownfield Road, Shard End, Birmingham, conned thousands of pounds out of his victims with his poor standard of work.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how Gardner had cold-called a 77-year-old man in Stourbridge in March 2014 offering to clean his gutters for free. He then quoted £500 to re-bed ridge tiles which then escalated to £6,200 for a new roof. When the pensioner tried to exercise his cancellation rights, Gardner refused to accept the cancellation and carried out the work to such an appalling standard that the new roof had to be removed and redone.
In April the same year, Gardner quoted £750 to a Wolverhampton lady for replacement guttering but subsequently charged her £1,570 for other work he claimed urgently needed doing. An expert surveyor later assessed the work and found that it was of a poor standard and that some of the work Gardner claimed he had carried out and had invoiced for had not actually been done. All of the guttering had to be removed and redone.
Gardner was found guilty of four counts of fraud and a further offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations including one charge of fraud by failing dishonestly to disclose information about cancellation rights and one charge under consumer protection regulations of contravening the requirements of due diligence.
He was jailed for two years and disqualified from driving following the court hearing, which was led by Dudley Council’s trading standards. The court also imposed a six year Criminal Behaviour Order banning him from entering any address in the UK for the purposes of offering services, or being involved in offering services on anyone else’s behalf, of any description including roofing, building, gardening or maintenance.
Councillor Rachel Harris, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said:
“This prosecution sends out a clear message that our trading standards officers will protect consumers from the activity of rogue traders who flout the law and carry out sub standard work.
“This kind of activity causes a huge amount of distress to the victims who have worked hard and saved to pay for improvements to their home and are then left badly let down. We are particularly pleased to see a banning order applied for six years which will continue to see consumers, not just within Dudley, protected from this rogue trader for a period well beyond the custodial sentence.”