A rogue roofer who carried out work that wasn’t required on the home of a vulnerable couple and charged them thousands of pounds has been sentenced to a suspended prison term of 15 months.
Toby Price of Broadmoor was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Monday, November 6th following a successful investigation and prosecution brought by Pembrokeshire County Council Trading Standards.
Price admitted four charges of fraud and one offence of engaging in a misleading commercial practice by omitting contractual information including cancellation rights.
The Court heard that Price was trading as ‘Best Price Roofing Services’ when he was contacted by the victim about a slipped roof tile which had caused a damp patch on an upstairs ceiling.
Price visited and quoted £800 for the work, falsely claiming that the high cost was for insurance in case he had an accident.
An independent contractor later said the repair should have cost about £80 plus VAT.
While there Price claimed he had noticed the chimney stack to be leaning or warped and estimated a cost of repair to be £8,000. He told the victim that he would do the work for between £4,000 and £5,000.
When the victim said he would think about it, Price said the chimney stack could fall and potentially injure the victim’s wife who was largely confined to the living room due to health conditions.
The victim felt pressured and concerned about his wife’s safety and agreed to the repair.
Price spent around 30-45 minutes on the roof with a trowel and a bucket of cement. He charged £4,500 for the work.
An independent contractor later examined the chimney and stated that it was safe and not leaning or warped.
Rendering work of poor quality had been carried out and estimated to have cost approximately £100 plus VAT.
The fraud was discovered when the victim’s usual maintenance company later attended and contacted the Council.
A telephone number on a business card provided by the defendant did not work and when contacted by Trading Standards on another number provided to the victim, the man who answered claimed it was a wrong number.
The impact on the victim and his wife has been profound, causing them stress and concern about a loss of their savings.
Cllr Michelle Bateman, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services, said: “I welcome the sentence handed to Price today and thank the Trading Standards team for their diligent work on this prosecution.
“Price targeted a vulnerable couple and charged them an extortionate amount for work that did not need to be carried out.
“The victims have been left badly affected by Price’s actions and I hope this case shows that the Council will not stand for this sort of callous behaviour.”
Price was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for 18 months.
He must carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and 15 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement.
Price must also pay the victim £900 in compensation.