A rogue trader whose defective and incompetent work left city homeowners more than £5,000 out of pocket has been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

Following investigations by City of Wolverhampton Council’s Trading Standards team, Christopher Wood, of Wood Lane, Willenhall, was found to have committed a number of offences.

Wood was given an 8 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £7,100 compensation and £7,000 costs by a judge sitting at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

He had previously pleaded guilty to 3 offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. One offence relating to breach of professional diligence and 2 relating to misleading action.

Problems began when Wood, trading under the name Sumit Roofing Solutions, was approached by the homeowners who wanted work carried out on their house in Aldersley.

The residents were quoted £11,546 for reroofing, removal of part of the chimney and cladding sides of the front windows. The quote was agreed and a deposit of £5,750 was paid.

Scaffolding was put up and work began on the roof in June 2021, with Wood stripping, boarding and sealing the chimney at the rear of the property, removing roof tiles and replacing rafters.

Further work was then carried out at the front of the property, but damage to the bedroom ceiling was reported to Wood by the homeowner. Wood gave assurances that this would be resolved later on. A further payment of £4,170 was made.

Wood then struggled to fit lead on a dormer window and damaged existing cladding. He told the homeowners that he would replace all cladding but progress with the job was slow and further damage was found to an internal bedroom wall.

The homeowners paid a further £2,000, bringing the total paid to £10,920. Wood then claimed there was damage to dormer windows and the homeowners would need to rectify this before he continued work.

However, after leaving site on 14 July, 2021, Wood never returned to the property. Wood left the work unfinished and said he would refund some of the labour costs. He never returned to the site and didn’t respond favourably to the residents about completion of the outstanding work.

An independent roofer then inspected the roof and advised the homeowners to contact Wolverhampton Trading Standards. Officers employed an independent chartered surveyor to further inspect the property. 
The surveyor’s report identified a number of issues including burnt and torn roofing underlay, incorrectly fixed tiles, unsupported flat roof and defective installation of tile coverings.

Taking into account the money paid by the residents and the overall values assigned by the independent chartered surveyor along with further costs they incurred, there was a loss to the homeowners of approximately £5,300.

Councillor Steve Evans, City of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment and climate change, said: “The residents in this case have been put through a great amount of upset, upheaval and financial loss simply for trusting someone to do their job properly.

“It is so important that we highlight cases like this to ensure other people remain vigilant. I sympathise with anyone who falls victim to rogue traders and suffers the emotional and financial damage their careless actions cause.

“Fortunately, our Trading Standards team with the support of our inhouse lawyers were able to step in and support the homeowners and I am pleased to see the positive outcome in the courts.”