Cowboy builder conned elderly Hartlepool couple by raising £45 quote to a whopping £1,000 bill

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A cowboy builder who targeted an elderly couple has been jailed.

Anthony Chapman deliberately gave a low quote of £45 to persuade the couple to agree to roofing work and then upped the price to £1,000, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Your quote of £45 was purposefully low, then surprise surprise, the price went up to £1,000.

Judge Michael Taylor

“Chapman, calling himself Michael, cold called the couple at their bungalow in Stockton Road, Hartlepool” said Richard Bennett, prosecuting.

“He said he was in the area and could see their chimney needed repairing.

“The low quote of £45 was given deliberately, the prosecution say, to ensnare the couple.

“Chapman returned the following day to do the job.

“He told the couple that having been on the roof he could see more work was required, which would cost £1,000.”

The court heard Chapman, who traded as North East Property Roofing, was on site for four hours.

“He was paid the £1,000 in cash,” added Mr Bennett. “The victim was unhappy with the standard of the work.

“A subsequent inspection by a chartered surveyor found that some jobs quoted for had not been done, and the quality of what had been done was very poor.

“The surveyor said the work, if properly done, should have cost no more than £700.

“As it was, the victim was left with further expense by way of remedial work.”

Chapman, 26, of Annandale Crescent, Hartlepool, admitted four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, all in October 2013.

He has previous convictions for burglary, drug possession and an offence of violence.

Andrew Teate, defending, said in mitigation: “About the only good thing that can be said is these offences were nearly two years ago, and he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

“Mr Chapman has continued to work as a roofer.

“There have been no further complaints about how he does business.”

Judge Michael Taylor jailed Chapman for a year.

The judge told him: “The regulations are designed to protect the public from rogue traders, and you are a rogue trader.

“You deliberately targeted this couple, knowing they were elderly and vulnerable.

“Your quote of £45 was purposefully low, then surprise surprise, the price went up to £1,000. To make matters worse, you left their property in a dreadful state.

“The courts have a duty to protect the elderly from people such as you.”