Published Thursday, 10th January 2019

A group of eight roofers have been sentenced for a total of almost 18 years, following a series of cons that cost vulnerable residents across the North East, tens of thousands of pounds.

The group of offenders included William Stewart (aged 23 of Elvington, York), Andrew Hardy (age 32, of Tyne Dock, South Tyneside), father and son Paul and James Masterton (aged 67 and 35 of Walnut Place, Newcastle), George Flannigan (aged 25 of Milnathort, Kinross), Graham Thom (aged 27 of Turriff, Aberdeenshire), Shaun Doyle (aged 33) and Mark Genery (aged 39).


The rogue roofers targeted elderly people across the North East by cold-calling residences between July 2016 and January 2017, including a York resident who paid £9,500 for roof repairs that were “entirely unnecessary”.


The York resident then attempted to withdraw another £9,500 for the fraudulent roofers, however the bank refused to authorise the withdrawal, fearing he was being scammed.


Another victim was told they would fix his roof in exchange for "a tenner and a drink for the lads". The man in his 70s from Thornaby, Stockton, was then quoted £5,000, however he ended up paying the group £18,500.


Other victims included an 89-year-old man from North Yorkshire and a 91-yeard-old man from Gateshead, who paid £17,000 and £11,000 respectively for the poor quality and unnecessary roof work. The group also targeted a male from Pocklington, who has since passed away.


The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court [19 December 2018] and saw six of the eight roofers receive a prison sentence.


Shaun Doyle, who is already serving a four-and-a-half-year sentence for a similar offence, was jailed for three years and five months, added to his existing jail term.


George Flannigan was jailed for three years and 11 months while Andrew Hardy was jailed for three years and three months for his part in the con.


William Stewart and Mark Genery were both jailed for two years and nine months and Graham Thom was jailed for 21 months.


Paul and James Masterton were each given a one-year community order with 250 hours' unpaid work and a six-month tagged curfew between 6pm and 6am, and must pay £1,000 compensation each to one victim.


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Cllr Jenny Brooks, executive member for housing and community safety, said: “It is extremely cruel for rogue traders and criminal groups to prey upon vulnerable members of the community for their own financial gain. This is not something that we will tolerate and, as this prosecution shows, we will investigate rogue traders and bring them to justice.”


Cllr Nigel Ayre, executive member with portfolio for trading standards, said: “We encourage residents to keep an eye out for vulnerable neighbours and to report any suspicious activity, such as unnecessary roof work. If you think someone you know is being targeted, contact Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”

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