From: "Reading Borough Council" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 17 Apr 2015 15:48
Subject: Rogue Builder Prosecuted for Defrauding Elderly Residents
Rogue Builder Prosecuted for Defrauding Elderly Residents
Reading Borough Council Press Release
READING Borough Council's Trading Standards Service have successfully prosecuted a local builder for fraud in respect of two elderly Reading residents who were both charged an extraordinary £64,000 each for simple roofing work to their homes that should have cost a fraction of the amount.
The two vulnerable residents, from Caversham and Whitley, were the victims of builder Mr David Reed (37) the director of Abode Roofing Ltd, previously known as Able Roofing (London) Ltd who carried out the work on the residents' homes between 2013 and 2014. One of the residents, concerned about the high costs, contacted Reading Trading Standards Service.
From initial investigations it was apparent the trader was acting fraudulently. An independent chartered surveyor hired by the council, inspected the work carried out and estimated the true costs to be between £10,000 and £15,000 for each job.
Although both victims were from Reading it became clear the builder was operating across the south of England. Reading Trading Standards led on the investigation working closely with the police South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) and other trading standards authorities.
As a result of these investigations on 7th January 2015 at Reading Crown Court, Mr Reed pleaded guilty to two offences under the Fraud Act relating to overcharging of both victims. Prior to that Mr Reed had paid compensation of over £100,000 back to his victims.
On the 17th April 2015 Mr Reed was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for 18 months, as well as to serve 200 hours community service and to pay full costs of £6428.
Leader of Reading Borough Council, Cllr Jo Lovelock said:
"Reading Trading Standards work very closely with the police and respond rapidly to concerns of suspect building work particularly where vulnerable residents are concerned. We will continue to use our powers to the full and take all necessary action against rogue traders".
Det. Con. Steve Smethurst from SEROCU's Criminal Finances Team, said:
"We worked closely with colleagues in Reading Trading Standards to investigate these offences.
"Working together we can ensure that we bring criminals to justice and protect the most vulnerable members of our communities across the South East region."
The Council advises that residents should get three quotes for any proposed building work and to report any concerns about building costs via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline, 03454 04 05 06, who will send it on to the Trading Standards team for review
Notes for Editors:
Reading Borough Council Press Releases can be found online at http://beta.reading.gov.uk/article/1908/News--Press-Releases/
Media Contact: Anna Fowler
Tel: 0118 937 3957