A roofer who defrauded an elderly Croydon couple out of £19,000 for poor-quality and unnecessary work has received a suspended jail sentence after a council investigation.
Croydon Council prosecuted Jamie Kempton after he charged more than £23,000 for work to the South Croydon property, of which only £4,000 was needed.
At Croydon Crown Court on Monday 14 January, the 37-year-old from Longfield Drive in Mitcham was sentenced by a judge to 10 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, after pleading guilty to four counts of fraud with a further two counts ordered to lie on file.
The court heard how Kempton had first approached the couple in October 2013, when he informed them that they had slipped roof tiles. After carrying out this work he then told the victims – who were both in their eighties – that further repairs were needed, including repointing brickwork and chimneys, replacement drains and new soffits and fascias.
Each new area of work was identified through a series of invoices or estimates which were given to the victims, who paid six separate bank transfers totalling more than £23,240, with the fraud amounting to just over £19,000.
When one of the victims’ sons became suspicious about the works when he visited their home in December 2013, Kempton requested the return of all invoices and estimates, only to then post a numbered list of only some of the works allegedly carried out.
The victims’ son then reported Kempton to Croydon Council’s trading standards team, who launched an investigation.
An independent chartered surveyor, commissioned by trading standards, inspected the property and concluded that much of the work was unnecessary, some had probably not even been carried out and some was of a poor standard. For example, the expert found that instead of stripping and replacing rotten boards on the roof and eaves, Kempton had overboarded them. The expert’s report found that some of the drainage work was “a complete and utter bodge” which “could only have been carried out to deceive”.
Sentencing Kempton to the suspended jail term, Recorder O’Magennis said she found his behaviour “absolutely despicable”.
“This prosecution came about because of an excellent and painstaking investigation by the council’s trading standards team, and I welcome the judge’s sentence.
“This fraudster outrageously fleeced vulnerable victims for thousands of pounds’ worth of shoddy and unnecessary repairs, and this case serves as a warning and reminder that householders should turn away doorstep traders and only use reputable businesses.”
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities
For advice on how householders can avoid becoming victim to doorstep rogue traders, visit the council website’s trading standards pages.