A ROGUE roofer drove a 73-year-old woman to a cash point to extort more than £1,000 for unnecessary work, a court heard.
Danny Sherwood, 30, was found guilty of seven counts of fraud at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday, April 11, after needlessly removing a chimney at the vulnerable pensioner’s home in Rossmore in September 2012.
Sherwood, of Wimborne Road, Kinson, was found guilty of dishonestly informing the victim that her chimney was unsafe, of charging £2,150 for roofing work worth just £630 and of engaging in an aggressive practice in driving her to the cash point in his van and “assisting her to press the correct buttons”.
He also gave the wrong postal address – Wakely Road – failed to provide a guarantee or receipt for the work and payment and omitted to disclose that he was not Gas Safe approved.
Sherwood, whose father and brother have been convicted of similar crimes in the past, denied all 11 charges and was found not guilty on four by the jury.
The victim contacted Borough of Poole’s trading standards department to complain after the work was done.
Regulatory team manager James Norman said: “This is a case of an elderly vulnerable woman being exploited by a trader. We are delighted with this verdict, which sends a clear message to those people who seek to defraud members of our community that trading standards will use all means at their disposal to bring these traders to justice.”
Sherwood was in court for ripping off pensioners in 2011, when he pleaded guilty to engaging in a misleading commercial practice after informing an 86-year-old Ferndown woman that her roof needed £700 worth of work done.
He was arrested when he returned to the property the next day and was later fined £735.
He will be sentenced for his latest offences at Bournemouth Crown Court on May 9.
- Last week’s successful conviction coincided with National Rogue Trader Week, from April 7 to 11.
Stuart Brown, chairman of the regional Trading Standards Partnership’s Doorstep Crime Panel, said: “The south west has a higher than average proportion of elderly and vulnerable residents and therefore we are a particular target for rogue companies.
“Tackling doorstep crime is our number one priority for 2014.
“We will extend every effort to catch those rogue traders who bring misery to the doorstep of elderly and vulnerable residents trying to enjoy their retirement in peace. I have been impressed by the commitment of south west trading standards services and police forces who are determined to pull together to deal with this problem.”
Dad and brother are no better...
DANNY Sherwood is just the latest member of his family to be convicted of ripping off the elderly.
His father, 54-year-old Kevin Sherwood, of Wimborne Road, was jailed for a year in January 2013 after damaging the roof of an elderly couple while carrying out minor repairs, and then demanding £7,000 for a new roof to be laid.
Victim Alan Read said he felt like a “fool” at being taken in by the con man, but he had felt compelled to pay Sherwood as he had already taken the tiles off the roof when he demanded the extra money.
“I felt backed into a corner,” he told the Daily Echo.
Kevin Sherwood also drove his victims to cash points, robbing another couple – Edward and Barbara Longcroft of Bear Cross – of thousands of pounds from their savings.
“One of us will probably have to go into care and the money we spent should have been used for that,” said Mrs Longcroft.
Danny Sherwood’s brother, also named Kevin, was given a suspended nine month prison sentence in 2011 for demanding £3,700 for work on a pensioner’s roof. He was also ordered to pay his victim £2,467 compensation.
Criminal traders are not welcome
TRADING standards officers have been advising residents this week on how to avoid becoming a victim of rogue traders.
They say residents, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, should use door stickers provided by their local authority to deter cold callers.
They are urged to keep the door shut if unsure who the caller is, and report suspicious callers to the police immediately.
Poole councillor Xena Dion said: “The term rogue trader undermines the real criminal intent behind some of these people.
“There is only one way consumers can really stay safe from rogue traders and high pressure salespeople in their own homes, and that is by saying a firm 'no thanks' to cold calling doorstep traders in the first place.
“Let’s send a strong message to these traders that they are not welcome to operate here in Poole.”
To contact approved businesses for building work visit buywithconfidence .gov.uk or call 0845 404 0506.