A rogue trader who conned an elderly woman and her son out of £6,500 has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment today (Friday 24 July) following an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards.
Nathan Lee (age 32, of Compasses Road, Pattiswick, Braintree) charged £6,500 for work which was in fact only worth £50. Horsham Magistrates Court heard how the work was completed to a poor standard using incorrect materials.
In May 2019, Lee cold called a property in Pulborough and convinced the residents, an elderly woman and her son, that their roof was dangerous and would cost £6,500 to repair.
Worried that the roof would collapse, they agreed to pay him the sum in cash. They asked for a receipt which Lee failed to provide.
The residents then reported Lee to West Sussex Trading Standards. An officer visited the property and instructed an independent Chartered Building Surveyor to inspect the work.
The surveyor said there was no need for the majority of the work and that it was carried out poorly using the wrong materials.
Richard Sargeant, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “Conning vulnerable people out of large sums of money is a serious crime.
“I would urge residents not to be pressured into having expensive work undertaken by a cold caller. We would always recommend using a Trading Standards approved ‘Buy With Confidence’ trader.”
Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “I would like to thank Trading Standards for bringing this individual to justice. This outcome sends a strong message to dishonest traders that we will find out and take action.”
To find a Trading Standards approved trader please visit: www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk
Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of an unfair trading practice, should contact Trading Standards at www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport or via Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133.