Doncaster ‘cowboy builder’ convicted after ‘bullying customers’

COURT: Court Case
COURT: Court Case

A DONCASTER roofer has been convicted of swindling three pensioners out of hundreds of pounds.

Andrew Wilson, 43, of Stockbridge Lane, Bentley, charged thousands more than experts said the work should have cost after cold calling the victims, two aged 78, and one in her sixties, heard York Crown Court.

Wilson had earlier pleaded guilty, at a hearing on December 4 2012 at Selby Magistrates’ Court, to the offences against the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

All the offences arose from complaints made to trading standards by customers, after Wilson cold–called them offering to carry out roofing work to their properties in the Selby area between July 2011 and January 2012.

Wilson’s victims included a 78-year-old man living alone, who paid a total of £2,940 after repeated visits by Wilson over a period of about two months. Wilson told the victim each time he visited that further work was needed. A chartered surveyor who later examined the work estimated its value at £875.

In a second case, a 78-year-old woman who lived alone since being recently widowed, paid £500 for a job which began with an estimate of £100, but rose as Wilson told the victim that further work was needed. The chartered surveyor said some of the work carried out was not required, some was not done, and some was sub-standard.

He added: “It is my opinion that none of the work carried out to the roof of this property is fit for purpose and effectively has no value whatsoever, since the householder will now be faced with having this work correctly undertaken by an alternative contractor, likely at a similar or greater cost.”

A third case involved a woman in her sixties who paid a total of £4,050 following several repeat visits by Wilson over a five week period, where he claimed further work was needed.

The chartered surveyor’s opinion was that some works were not required, others were not done and some were sub-standard, to the extent that they would cause a significant risk of water penetration to the inside of the property. He valued the work at £1,495, compared with the £4,050 paid by the victim.

All payments were made in cash, at Wilson’s request. He failed to provide any of his victims with a written notice of their right to cancel the contracts for work to be done.

Wilson was given a nine month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work, following an investigation by North Yorkshire County Council trading standards officers into his business Weatherguard.

Sentencing Wilson, Recorder Christopher Attwooll said: “You are a cowboy builder who bullied your customers into allowing you to do their work.” He added that Wilson had “ripped them off” and should consider himself to be very lucky. He added: “Offending of this type always attracts a degree of disgust from the public.”

A Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation hearing will now follow, to recover any assets gained by Wilson from his criminal activity and to compensate the victims in the case.