Chippenham roofers pleaded guilty to trading standards offences following an investigation by Wiltshire Council officers.
John Sykes, 35 and William Birch, 38, trading as J’s Roofing and Building, pleaded guilty on Monday 24 April, at Swindon Crown Court to one charge of fraud and two unfair trading offences. They will be sentenced in June.
The work, completed in June 2021, involved replacing a flat roof and installing a Velux window was deemed by a chartered surveyor to have been of an abysmal standard and below a minimum acceptable industry standard. The victim agreed for the work to be carried out in response to flyers posted through their letterbox.
The successful conviction is thanks to the work of Wiltshire Trading Standards Officers who were notified by staff at Lloyds bank, concerned that the couple had fallen foul of rogue traders. Officers intervened, calling the traders and informed them that they would not be receiving payment and that they should not return to the property. They also arranged for a chartered surveyor to examine the quality of the work that had been carried out. The chartered surveyor’s report stated that there was ‘no evidence of any basic skill, competence or understanding of work of this nature’. It was also noted that the works were unlikely to resist rainwater ingress and that there was a strong possibility that the roof could buckle and collapse.
Cllr Nick Holder, Cabinet Member for Public Protection said; Rogue builders aren’t always easy to spot and are very good at duping homeowners; causing misery by carrying out work to unacceptable standards.
Residents are urged to be cautious of anyone who turns up on their doorstep offering to do work and to be aware that photos used on websites or social media may not be the trader’s own work. We would advise not to pay large deposits in advance and if the contract is high value, make staged payments. If the contract is agreed in your home, you will most likely be entitled to a 14 day cancellation period and if the correct paperwork is not issued you may not have to pay.
Always ask for written quotes and ensure you are provided with full details in writing including the trader’s name, address and the total price before any work takes place. Seeking independent references for the business can also help to allay any concerns.
As part of our business plan, we are keen to promote safe, compliant and successful traders as great examples to others. Trusted traders can also be found by using an approval scheme such as Buy With Confidence.
If anyone believes they have been the victim of a rogue trader, they should call Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.