Man in court over alleged fraud after elderly couple saw £80 bill for cleaning gutters rocket to £1,000

Man in court over alleged fraud after telling couple further work needed doing to the roof of their

Man in court over alleged fraud after telling couple further work needed doing to the roof of their home - Credit: Archant

An alleged rogue trader told a Suffolk couple in their 80’s that work costing more than £1,000 needed to be carried out to the roof of their bungalow when in fact it was in good order, a court has heard.

Bill Simpson went to the couple’s Lowestoft home after receiving a telephone call from an 87-year-old man who lived at the property with his wife, also 87, after he saw a newspaper ad offering a guttering cleaning service, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Simpson told the man he could clean the gutters and fascia boards for £80 and carried out the work the same day and was paid for it, said Alison Lambert, prosecuting.

Before leaving Simpson told the householder he would return to repair a couple of leaks with a rubber seal but said the cost of the work was included in the £80 he had been paid.

“He trusted Bill Simpson with what he said needed doing,” said Miss Lambert.

Several days later the householder and his wife returned from a shopping trip and were “surprised” to find a man on their roof with a trowel and a brush, said Miss Lambert.

The couple were allegedly told by Simpson that moss on the roof needed removing to stop it blocking the gutters but the householder told Simpson he didn’t want the roof cleaned.

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Simpson allegedly repeated that the work needed doing and said some ridge tiles also needed to be rebedded and repointed at a cost of £1,100.

When the couple said they couldn’t afford it Simpson allegedly dropped the price to £1,000 and then laughed and said:” Of course you can” when the couple said they still couldn’t afford it.

The householder didn’t agree to the work being done and contacted his son who called the police and went to his parents’ home, said Miss Lambert.

“He was concerned his parents’ were being taken advantage of,” said Miss Lambert.

Simpson was arrested at the house and when he was interviewed by Trading Standards officers he said he’d been asked by the couple to do the work. He said he told them it would cost £400-£600 depending on how many ridge tiles needed rebedding and denied telling them the work would cost as much as £1,000.

He admitted not giving the couple a seven day cooling off period.

Miss Lambert said a chartered surveyor who examined the roof concluded the roof tiles were in good order and the moss on the roof wouldn’t have damaged the tiles.

“He didn’t know why the defendant had suggested rebedding and repointing was necessary,” said Miss Lambert.

Simpson, 56, of Hazel Lane, Hinton, Saxmundham, has denied fraud, fraud by false representation, engaging in a commercial practice which was misleading and two offences of engaging in a commercial practice which was aggressive.

The trial continues today (Tuesday).