JAILED: Rogue roofer turned tiles upside down and charged £8,000 for the privilege

A rogue roofer turned over a couple's old roof tiles and charged them £8,000 for a 'new roof'.

Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 5:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2016, 8:11 am
Preston Crown Court. PIC BY ROB LOCK

Simon Fielding, 56, who ran Ribble Valley Roofing in Clitheroe, has been jailed for 35 months after he admitted two counts of fraud, and one count of engaging as a trader in an unfair commercial practice.

The former soldier appeared on the BBC’s Rogue Traders programme in 2010.

Victims Sara and Nicholas Cole found a leak at their home in May 2014, Preston Crown Court was told.

They contacted the firm and the following day a man who gave the name David Fielding quoted a price of £850 and the work was done - but two weeks later the leak reappeared.

On this occasion, having inspected the roof, David Fielding told the shocked couple the entire roof structure needed replacing at £15,000.

He reduced it to £6,500, saying the firm could “use reclaimed tiles or re-use the existing tiles if possible”.

They reluctantly agreed and paid half the cash upfront.

Prosecuting, David Traynor said: “Despite the agreement as to terms of payment, on consecutive Thursdays the defendant made phone calls to Sara Cole asking for more money. On the first occasion it was said that he needed to pay his workers and on the second that he needed to buy more tiles than he first thought. This led to additional cash payments of £2,500 and £2,200 giving a total of £7,900 for this 2nd set of works, a figure already in excess of the total price agreed. Sara Cole states that the assertive manner of the defendant makes it difficult to say no to him.

“As the job progressed, the Coles were increasingly anxious as to the apparent poor standard of the work. As it neared completion they received a phone call from the defendant asserting that the final price was £11,500 and so they still owed him £3,600. When we come to the surveyor’s inspection of the roof it will be seen that the work done was worthless, therefore this demand for money from the defendant amounts to a fraud by misrepresentation as to the value of the work done.”

The suspicious couple researched him online, found some of his previous history and texted the defendant to say that they would not be paying him any more money until their roof had been inspected by a surveyor and he was asked not to return to the property in the meantime.

He texted them saying “It’s not on this” and threatening to take the roof tiles back.

Lancashire Trading Standards became involved and a building surveyor found the tiles on the roof were not replacements but had simply been turned over to show the clean side.

The family had to cancel a holiday to pay for the resulting legitimate roof repairs.

The court took a further case into account in which Barnacre resident Christine Walmsley contacted a firm called ‘Roof Guard UK’ about a leak, and was quoted £330.

Again the leak reappeared and she was told the work would cost a total of £11,000.

On Christmas Eve, the defendant threatened to leave the job and to take his men and equipment with him after she refused to pay a further £3,000 but he returned an hour later and said he would accept £1,200. But no further work was done.

The defendant, of Wardsley Road, Leagram, Chipping, near Preston, has 11 similar convictions for 26 offences - and was subject to a suspended jail term at the time of these offences.

County Councillor Azhar Ali said: “This is not the first time that Trading Standards has had to prosecute Simon Fielding for his shoddy work, fraudulent claims and aggressive behaviour.

“We hope this sentence sends out a very clear message: ignore the law and you’ll end up in court; ignore the court and you’ll end up in jail.”