A cowboy roofer has been jailed for fleecing elderly victims out of their savings by charging thousands of pounds for unnecessary and bungled work.
Phillip Small targeted pensioners living on their own who needed minor repairs and tempted them with small quotes which shot up as soon as he started work. He often removed parts of roofs, leaving homes open to the rain, before demanding huge sums to finish the job.
Small, 41, left a trail of vulnerable victims across Cornwall, Devon and the South West over three years. His victims included an 86-year-old Alzheimer’s sufferer and a 76-year-old partially blind widow. He plundered all but £1,100 of one pensioner’s life savings in just 18 days.
Small was jailed for two-and-a-half years at Exeter Crown Court after a judge heard how many of his victims had been left impoverished, stressed and upset. He made more than £106,060 out of 12 victims of whom the youngest was 60 and the oldest 89. He used false names and invented bogus companies with false addresses to prevent his dissatisfied customers catching up with him.
Small, of Woodlands Park, Ledbury, Herefordshire, admitted three offences of deception and one of running a fraudulent business. He was jailed for 30 months by Judge John Neligan at Exeter Crown Court and now faces the seizure of his assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The judge told him: “The victims have all suffered financially and emotionally. They are elderly people who have had their confidence in human nature and life thoroughly wrecked.”
Mr Oliver Willmott, prosecuting, said the first complaints came from Cornwall, where Small operated from 2006 to 2008.
The victims included Lynn Worsley and her husband, who were overcharged for work at their home at Fortescue Close, St Austell, and 76-year-old James Webb, who paid all but £1,100 of his £42,000 life savings for just £11,000 worth of work on his home at Porthpean Road, St Austell.
Mr Webb never recovered from the shock and died within two years.
Miss Dawn Burrows, defending, said Small had not targeted the elderly and only three of his 12 victims could be said to be vulnerable.
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