Simon Collins, 43, of Fretson Road, Sheffield, pleaded guilty to five offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment on Monday 13 May 2019.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how in January 2017, Collins had cold called his victim under the guise of a business Everest Solutions. After securing roofing repair work he quickly upsold his services by making false claims about the state of the roof and the need for additional work, adding thousands to the price.
In March 2017 Collins cold called the second victim, who eventually agreed to have the roof of his house replaced for £3,000. Within hours of the work starting, Collins made false claims about additional scaffolding charges, extra work to the chimney and woodworm in the roof spars; rocketing the price to £13,000. Under duress, the victim was forced to pay even more money when Collins demanded £17,000 at the end of the work.
At the start of their investigation Trading Standards commissioned expert surveys of both properties which showed nearly all the work to be unnecessary, of such a poor standard as to be valueless and the wrong materials used. In the case of the second victim the roof was so badly constructed it required removal and re-roofing.
Sentencing Collins to two years imprisonment the Recorder of Sheffield; Judge Richardson said: “This criminality was entirely motivated by greed; you are a comprehensively dishonest individual. You have caused considerable financial harm to 2 individuals and this case clearly passes the custody threshold and I would be failing in my public duty if I failed to send you to prison immediately.”
“You may only be labelled as a fraudulent bogus roofing contractor who defrauded innocent members of the public. That warrants an immediate custodial sentence.”
Ian Ashmore, Head of Environmental Protection at Sheffield City Council, said: “Collins callously preyed on people and took advantage of their trust. Our Trading Standards team worked hard to prove his crimes and bring him to justice and this conviction sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this within our communities.
“It should never come to this but we will continue to disrupt and prosecute rogue traders, doorstep criminals and scammers of all kinds and we ask anyone who suspects or witnesses suspicious activity to report it so that we can protect more people in Sheffield from fraudulent trading and financial abuse.”
Through a network of partner agencies and supported by the Sheffield Adult Safeguarding Board, the Council’s Not Born Yesterday campaign continues to raise awareness of these types of crimes, with increasing numbers of offenders brought to justice.
Keeping in touch with neighbours, especially when they may be vulnerable does make it harder for doorstep criminals and rogue traders to operate.
People with concerns or suspicions about a scam, rogue trader or fraudulent business activity can report those concerns to Sheffield Trading Standards at Trading.firstname.lastname@example.org or 0114 2736290 (Sheffield Trading Standards) 03454 040506 (Citizens Advice Helpline).