Andrew Pollard (37) of Longfield Road, Leeds, who traded as “A&J Roofing Solutions Ltd” previously pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to ten offences under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and was sentenced today (10/07/2017).
The conviction was secured last month by the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team (WYFEAT), which is a multi-agency partnership between Trading Standards, West Yorkshire Police, Adult Social Care professionals and supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, with the aim of combatting rogue traders who prey on the vulnerable.
Across 2016 A&J Roofing Solutions Ltd was the most complained about company in West Yorkshire in the field of “Roofing, Fascias and Guttering”. West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service received numerous complaints alleging seriously deficient workmanship, misleading representations regarding the necessity and extent of work and many customers who complained of problems to Mr Pollard were strung along and given false promises that they would be rectified.
Victims of A&J Roofing Solutions, who were spread across Leeds and Bradford, reported to the officers of Trading Standards that they were attracted to the company by their professional looking leaflets, website and sign written vans. It was only later, when the price started to escalate or when it began to rain that they realised that they had been dealing with a rogue. On interview Andrew Pollard admitted that he would not have been happy if a roofer had carried out the same standard of work to his roof. In total the victims paid over £34,000 to A&J Roofing Solutions with many then having to pay other traders more money to put the problems right.
In one case Mr Pollard’s company carried out a full re-roof of a property, where the total cost of the work was ratcheted up over time to a total of around £12,500. Mr Pollard admitted in court that the cost of a full re-roof should only have been £3500. The stress of this led to one 68 year old consumer being admitted to hospital.
A 96 year old lady was left stranded and helpless as work done to the roofline of her home quickly became defective and nobody would attend to put it right despite persistent complaints to Mr Pollard.
In another case a 75 year old lady living alone was forced to evacuate her property as a result of extensive water penetration following roofing work carried out by A&J Roofing Solutions.
Pollard was ordered to serve 20 months in prison for offences spanning from November 2015 to September 2016.
In passing sentence, Recorder Simon Eckersley commented: “These failures during this period were systemic. They had a huge effect on your victims. Many attempts to alert you were largely ignored. These offences are so numerous and over such a length of time and have had such a palpable effect on your victims that a custodial sentence is inevitable”.
David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards commented: “We are extremely pleased that the Courts have taken such a hard line on this case. This sentence sends a strong message to rogue traders that their unscrupulous tactics will not be tolerated. I would urge anyone wishing to report unfair sales tactics or seek advice on doorstep crime to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, who has helped to provide joint funding for the WYFEAT initiative said: “I welcome today’s sentencing in that it recognises the severe impact of Mr Pollard’s actions on his victims having been taken into account. It also sends a clear message that robust action will be taken against anyone who sees taking advantage of vulnerable people as an easy pay day. I would again like to put on my record my thanks to the WYFEAT team for their dedicated work on this case."