Wigan pensioner conned out of £5k

Brian Alder, right, and his next door neighbour Cyril Wareing
Brian Alder, right, and his next door neighbour Cyril Wareing

Trading standards officers are investigating after a Wigan pensioner was conned out of £5,000 by a rogue trader.

Brian Alder was left out of pocket after paying for work on the dormer roof of his and a next door neighbour’s homes on Camberwell Crescent, New Springs.

I thought it was all done, but then water started leaking through the roof

Brian Alder

The job was left unsafe, incomplete and falling apart, but when Brian tried to get back in touch with the workers after weeks of frustration, all phone numbers they tried had gone dead.

The firm spelled Brian’s address as “Cambra Old Creasant” on the quote letter. The 79-year-old initially gave the company a cheque for £3,500 in late January to replace sections of torn felt and damaged boarding. But Brian soon found problems with the work that had been done.

Frustrated Brian said: “I thought it was all done, but then water started leaking through the roof.

“I noticed some felt lying over the top of the roofing, and it wasn’t attached properly.”

Concerned Brian called back a week later to complain, but said the stubborn workers were reluctant to resolve the issue.

He added: “After various phone calls, they said they would come and finish it off on Thursday February 9.

“They did arrive on that date, and both myself and my neighbour were told it would cost another £1500.”

After Brian coughed up and gave them another cheque, the roofers carried out more repairs, including more cement work on the roof tiles.

But the second batch of work proved to be even worse.

“After he’d done mine, three large chunks of cement dropped on to my car port roof,” Brian said.

Brian hastily cancelled the second cheque before it could be cashed, prompting an angry response.

“They came back all guns blazing,” he said.

“I told him he would be paid when the work was done, so he promised to repair it the following Saturday.”

But nobody showed up, and when repairs still hadn’t been made two days later, Brian again tried to contact the company.

Despite having been in regular contact over the few days prior, Brian received no answer from any of the phone numbers he rang, and was left with damaged property despite having paid for inadequate work. He then had to pay out for a new firm to carry out the elusive firm’s unfinished job.

Brian contacted several authorities to seek advice and action, including Age Concern and the police, who told him they were unable to help due to it being a civil matter.

Julie Middlehurst, service manager for regulatory services at Wigan Council said: “We are aware of this investigation and have worked alongside colleagues in Lancashire Trading Standards in gathering evidence from victims in Wigan.”

The council encouraged any residents considering having work done on their property to use the Trading Standards Good Trader Scheme, to find details of locally approved tradesmen.

To find out more visit www.wigan.gov.uk or call 03454 040506.