Roofer fined for defrauding Merton residents

Kingston Crown Court has fined a roofer a total of £1,300 after he pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and four counts of falsely describing his services.

An investigation by Merton Council Trading Standards revealed that Wayne Ridgley of Helm Close, Epsom, knocked on the door of a resident in the Morden area and offered to repair the property’s roof but failed to give them any notice of cancellation.

By law a cancellation notice must be given by workmen who cold call customers in their own homes and offer to carry out jobs valued at over £35. This allows the customer seven days to cancel the contract even though work may already have started.

Council officers also discovered that Ridgley, 28, claimed at various different times that his work was backed by an insurance guarantee, guaranteed by Lloyds for 15 years, which was not true.

He also made a false statement in one of his invoices claiming he had carried out work, which had in fact not been done.

Merton’s Trading Standards department uncovered Ridgley’s crimes after receiving complaints about his work. Investigating officers carry out patrols with police officers and make spot checks on workmen.

Ridgley had to pay out £300 for failing to provide a notice of cancellation and £250 for each of the four counts of making false trade descriptions. He was also ordered to pay £3,000 costs.

The court heard that Ridgley had now changed his ways, been on a roofing course to improve his skills and had shown remorse in wanting to apologise to those for whom he had worked.

However, the judge said he had given the hefty fines to reflect the seriousness of the offences, which had been directed at vulnerable people.

Cabinet member for Housing and Regeneration Councillor Diane Neil Mills said: “This is a good result which clearly shows that Merton Council will not allow commercial operators to prey on vulnerable residents with impunity.

“They will be found out and prosecuted in the courts. We are determined to put our residents first and protect them from people who would take advantage of them.”