Awful Nuneaton rogue roofer ripped off locals by overcharging them £82,500

An awful rogue roofer from Nuneaton ripped off locals by overcharging them a huge £82,500. In one shocking case, Darren Bullaman Lee, aged 27 of Gilfil Road, Hill Top, charged a resident more than £43,000 after being called out to look at a leaky gutter.

He also targeted three other householders - others in Nuneaton and another Leamington Spa - ripping them off, collectively, to the tune of £82,500 by over-charging for work to their roofs that was largely unnecessary. But Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards has put an end to this happening again.

Trading Standards officers said that his tactic was to start with a lower quote before finding more and largely fictitious ‘problems’ with the roofs he was working on. Then the costs started to soar.

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Three of the victims found Lee on where he was advertising as Your Choice Roofing, The Crescent, Spalding, England, PE11 1AF. All four said his actions left them 'depressed' as well as impacting not only their mental health but also their finances.

He pleaded guilty to four offences under the Fraud Act 2006. At Warwick Crown Court on Wednesday, June 12, Lee was sentenced to two-and-a-half-years imprisonment and handed an 8-year Criminal Behaviour Order and an eight-year Director Disqualification Order.

Mitigation heard in court related largely to Mr Lee’s drug addiction that he said had led him into debt. A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation has commenced and the matter will be back in court on November 7 when compensation, confiscation and costs will be considered.

His Honour Judge Matthew Walsh said that his membership of a trusted trader scheme had given his victims ‘security and peace of mind’ such that Lee was able to convince them that work was needed on their properties, when in fact the work was ‘wholly unnecessary’. Addressing Lee, he added that this was ‘merely a device for you to get your hands on their money.’

Timeline of con crime

One Nuneaton resident asked Lee to repair some cracked cement on his roof and repoint the chimney brickwork. After a fee of £1,200 was agreed Lee told the resident that battens in the roof were rotten and needed replacing, alongside the felt.

He also claimed that he’d found woodworm. Thicker, heavier battens were required he claimed to support the roof. Lee costed the work at £16,000 and the resident eventually paid him £16,200.

However, an expert surveyor employed by Warwickshire Trading Standards examined the roof and found that the ‘strengthening work’ had no purpose or positive effect on the roof structure and was therefore wholly unnecessary and superfluous. There was also no evidence of any decay or rotting of the roof timbers.

In the second case, a Nuneaton resident contacted Lee after being told that his roof might be leaking. Lee looked at the roof from the outside before claiming that a ‘full roof repair’ was required.

He quoted £4,200 before later inflating the price to £18,000, again after discovering more ‘issues’. When the consumer refused to pay, Lee threatened to rip off the roof tiles.

The county council expert surveyor concluded that the work carried out by Lee had no value as it did not benefit the roof structure. He also examined what was left of the original roof and stated that it was in a good and structurally sound condition and require absolutely no works to be undertaken.

Lee quoted a third Nuneaton resident £11,000 for a completely new roof with new tiles, new battens and felt with all work guaranteed for 15 years. After the work was done Lee claimed that the roof was not strong enough to support the new tiles and further structural ‘work’ was needed. Lee claimed that the guarantee could not be issued unless this extra work was done.

Lee also painted a wall and inflated the price of this work. The householder eventually paid Mr Lee £22,000. The Trading Standards expert surveyor found that the roof did not need any strengthening and indeed the new tiles were lighter than those they replaced! The work was also overpriced.

In the fourth case a Leamington Spa householder asked Lee to come out to look at a leak to his guttering but ended up paying the rogue roofer over £43,000.

Lee maintained that the cause of the problem was his tiles, and that scaffolding would need to be erected. He then claimed the tiles were disintegrating and would need replacing together with rotten battens. Costs further escalated to include the removal of an asbestos roof on the garage which the resident was told would be done professionally. However, this was done without any specific protective measures taking place. The homeowner eventually paid Lee £43,150.


Speaking after the court case, Warwickshire County councillor Andy Crump, cabinet member for community safety, said: "This is an appalling example of how a rogue trader took advantage of some very vulnerable Warwickshire residents to defraud them of over £82,000.

“Rogue traders are warned that if they try to operate in Warwickshire, our Trading Standards Service will tackle them and bring them to court.”

People can report rogue traders to Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133. For more advice, people can also visit the website here

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