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Scammer sentenced after London victim pays £22,000 for shoddy roofing

Darren Conroy was sentenced on Wednesday at Snaresbrook Crown Court (PA Archive)
Darren Conroy was sentenced on Wednesday at Snaresbrook Crown Court (PA Archive)

A man who scammed a north London resident out of £22,000 for shoddy roofing work has been sentenced to 16 months in jail.

Described by the judge as “thoroughly dishonest”, Darren Conroy from Southwark was sentenced on Wednesday at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

The scam began in December 2020, when two men calling themselves ‘James’ and ‘Richard’, convinced an Islington resident that their roof needed replacing.

Claiming they were from London Top Roofing Ltd, they quoted the resident £43,000, and demanded a deposit of £22,000. The deposit was paid into Mr Conroy's personal account, who ‘James’ and ‘Richard’ referred to as “the big boss”.

The work to replace the roof was due to start the next day, but ‘James’ and ‘Richard’ did not show up.

Instead, another roofing company was sub-contracted to carry out the work. A payment of £3,500 was made to them from Mr Conroy’s account. However, they also charged the resident £3,655 for building materials and labour.

At the same time, the resident was receiving a barrage of messages from ‘James’, demanding a further £21,000.

The crime came to light after the resident contacted Islington Council’s trading standards team. Officers discovered that London Top Roofing Ltd did not exist as a limited company and their website was a fake front.

An expert surveyor found in a council-commissioned report that the work to replace the roof was unnecessary and substandard. This was confirmed when the roof started leaking six weeks after it was replaced. The report also concluded that the real value of the work was no more than £2,250.

Mr Conroy was found to have received the money from the fraud. Within two days, he had paid it all out to either his own personal or business accounts, or withdrawn it. He had also transferred a payment to the sub-contracted roofing company.

Islington Council was able to bring Mr Conroy to justice by showing that the victim had paid the money directly into his bank account, and that Mr Conroy either knew or had reason to believe that the money was from fraud. ‘James’ and ‘Richard’ were never identified however.

Mr Conroy admitted on Wednesday to two offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, including money laundering and converting criminal property. He was sentenced to 16 months for each offence, with the sentences running concurrently.

As part of the sentencing process, the council will ask the court to award compensation to the victim for the money lost in the scam.

John Woolf, the council’s executive member for community safety, said: “It’s very distressing that one of our residents was targeted by criminals in their own home, where they should feel safe.

“Thanks to the relentless work of our trading standards and legal services teams, this perpetrator has faced justice. We have zero tolerance for fraud in Islington and will take similar tough action against anyone attempting to exploit our residents.”

The council said it encourages anyone who suspects fraudulent activity or feels they have been a victim of a scam by a trader to report the matter to them via the national Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.

To find your local trading standards office, you can also visit: https://www.tradingstandards.uk/consumer-help/