AN “UNSCRUPULOUS” rogue roofer who targeted customers in West Yorkshire and across the north of the country has been jailed for 13 months.

Terry Rogers, 27, traded under the name UK Everest Ltd in order to make customers believe they were dealing with the well-known national company, even using a flyer stating “say no to cowboy builders.”

Leeds Crown Court heard that Rogers initially quoted for work to be carried out to fascias, soffits, and guttering, but once work began additional defects would be found with the roof which would cause the cost to dramatically escalate.

Customers faced with their roof stripped felt they had no other option but to agree to the extra work.

One victim was initially quoted £3,695 but the price increased to £20,695 once the work commenced.

An expert who inspected the work confirmed that it was entirely unnecessary and said that complainants had been overcharged between four and 17 times the going rate.

The court heard how Rogers travelled around the country to carry out work and that complaints were received from seven consumers based in West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, and the North East who between them lost just under £30,000.

Giles Bridge, prosecuting on behalf of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, told the court that many of the complainants were elderly, had suffered financial losses, and felt embarrassed that they had fallen victim to the crimes, which took place between May and December 2015.

Judge Christopher Batty told Rogers that his company name was deliberately chosen in order to mislead consumers, saying he had preyed on home owners with his unscrupulous conduct in order to make money for himself, thus undermining the trust of the public on those legitimately carrying on work within the building trade.

Rogers, of Yarm Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to eight offences under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

He was jailed for 13 months, ordered to pay £20,000 in compensation, and banned as a company director for five years.

The conviction was secured by the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team (WYFEAT), a multi-agency partnership between West Yorkshire Trading Standards, West Yorkshire Police, Adult Social Care professionals, and the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, with the aim of combatting rogue traders who prey on the vulnerable.

It followed a joint investigation between WYFEAT and the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Organised Crime Unit.

Speaking after the sentencing, Linda Davis, head of the WYFEAT task force, said: “This case demonstrates the work of WYFEAT in seeking justice for crimes against vulnerable consumers by unscrupulous rogues.

“The victims in this case have received justice, both in the form of an immediate custodial sentence and compensation towards their financial losses.

“This strong result should act as a warning to other rogues that their behaviour will not be tolerated in West Yorkshire."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Rogers’ actions were completely unacceptable and I welcome the outcome at court which will hopefully give his victims some form of closure.

“People like Rogers are every home owner’s worst nightmare when they use a ‘tradesperson’ and their actions then also unfairly affect consumer confidence for reputable tradespeople.

“Cases like this are exactly why I support and provided funding for the West Yorkshire Financial Exploitation and Abuse Team and this is another great result for them in bringing such an offender to justice and protecting the public from further frauds.”

Councillor Jo Hepworth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, which oversees the work of Trading Standards, added: “This case is another excellent result for WYFEAT and highlights the unfair practices that rogue traders will use against unsuspecting consumers.

“Rogers used a company name and advertising phrases similar to those of a well-known national company in order to trick consumers into believing they were dealing with the real company.

“I would advise consumers to do their research before employing traders to check that they are legitimate and to seek advice if the price of the work suddenly escalates.

“Anyone seeking advice on home improvements or doorstep sales should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”