Nuneaton rogue roofer conned residents of £82,500 - The Coventry Observer

Nuneaton rogue roofer conned residents of £82,500

Holly Clement 17th Jun, 2024   0

A NUNEATON rogue roofer has been sentenced to two and a half years behind bars after overcharging customers.

Darren Bullaman Lee, age 27 of Gilfil Road, Hill Top, Nuneaton was also handed an eight year criminal behaviour order and an eight year director disqualification order at Warwick Crown Court on June 12.

Lee scammed four residents from Nuneaton and Leamington Spa of £82,500 by over-charging for work to their roofs.

He started with a lower quote before finding ‘problems’ with roofs he was working on and then charged extra.

In one case a Nuneaton resident who called Lee out to look at a leaky gutter ended up paying him over £43,000.

Three of the victims found Lee on where he was advertising as Your Choice Roofing, The Crescent, Spalding, England, PE11 1AF.

On sentencing Lee at Warwick Crown Court, His Honour Judge Walsh said that his membership of a trusted trader scheme gave victims ‘security and peace of mind’ that Lee was able to convince them that work was needed on their properties, when in fact the work was ‘wholly unnecessary’.

Addressing Lee, he added that this was “merely a device for you to get your hands on their money.”

All victims said that it had a significant impact on their families finances and mental health.

One Nuneaton resident asked Lee to repair some cracked cement on his roof and repoint the chimney brickwork.

After the quote of £1200 was agreed Lee told the resident that battens in the roof were rotten and needed replacing, alongside the felt and he had found woodworm.

Lee costed the work at £16,000 and the resident eventually paid him £16,200.

A surveyor from Warwickshire Trading Standards said there was no need for ‘strengthening work’ and there was no evidence of decay or rotting.

A second Nuneaton resident contacted Lee after being told that his roof might be leaking.

Lee looked at the roof from the outside before claiming that a ‘full roof repair’ was required and quoted £4200 before later inflating the price to £18,000, again after discovering more ‘issues’.

When the consumer refused to pay, Lee threatened to rip off the roof tiles.

The surveyor concluded that the work carried out had no value as it did not benefit the roof structure.

He also examined what was left of the original roof and stated that it was in a good and structurally sound condition and require absolutely no works to be undertaken.

Lee quoted a third Nuneaton resident £11000 for a complete new roof with new tiles, new battens and felt with all work guaranteed for 15 years.

After the work was done Lee claimed that the roof was not strong enough to support the new tiles and further structural ‘work’ was needed and also painted a wall and inflated the price of this work.

The householder eventually paid him £22000 and The Trading Standards expert surveyor found that the roof did not need any strengthening and indeed the new tiles were lighter than those they replaced.

In the fourth case a Leamington Spa householder asked Lee to come out to look at a leak to his guttering but ended up paying himover £43,000.

Lee maintained that the cause of the problem was his tiles, and that he would need scaffolding.

He claimed the tiles were disintegrating and would need replacing together with rotten battens.

Costs further escalated to include the removal of an asbestos roof on the garage which the resident was told would be done professionally.

However, this was done without any specific protective measures taking place. The homeowner eventually paid Lee £43,150.

Warwickshire county councillor Andy Crump, said: “This is an appalling example of how a rogue trader took advantage of some very vulnerable Warwickshire residents to defraud them of over £82,000.

“Rogue traders are warned that if they try to operate in Warwickshire, our Trading Standards Service will tackle them and bring them to court.”

Mitigation heard in court related largely to Lee’s drug addiction that had led him into debt.

Lee had previously pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud contrary to sections 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.

A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation has commenced and the matter will be back in Court on November 7 2024 when compensation, confiscation and costs will be considered.


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