Rogue roofer sentenced after targeting elderly residents
James Richards, 38, charged grossly inflated prices for shoddy and unnecessary work, committing fraud worth more than £13,000 in total. Trading as Homelife Developments Ltd, he targeted three customers in their 70s and 80s at their homes in Yarnton, Aston and Carterton during 2013.
Richards, of Pershore, Worcestershire, admitted two charges of fraud by false representation, and one of engaging in a commercial practice that was misleading, contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. He was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Friday (23 October) to seven months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 200 hours of unpaid work.
Richards had previously provided two of his victims with compensation of £12,000, and £1,400 respectively. In addition, the judge ordered him to pay a further £1,200 to one of his victims to repair damage caused to his chimney and roof.
Martin Woodley, Trading Standards Doorstep Crime Lead Officer, who investigated the case, said: "This is a very typical doorstep crime scam where the offender approached the victim and made out that work was required on the roof. After convincing the victim that the work was required, he then grossly overcharged for carrying out poor quality work which was unnecessary.
“Trading standards doorstep crime team, working in partnership with Thames Valley Police, will continue to target those individuals and organised gangs that prey on the most elderly and vulnerable, with the aim of putting them before the Courts to account for their actions.”
The council's Deputy Leader Rodney Rose, who has responsibility for Trading Standards, added: "This is yet another excellent result for our Trading Standards team. I hope these cases act as a deterrent to any dishonest traders who might be thinking of trying to defraud the public by grossly overcharging and carrying out substandard work.
“My advice is that people should contact Trading Standards if they feel that they are pressurised into having work done on their property and use the Service’s Buy with Confidence list to choose a reputable trader.”