A prosecution brought by Islington Council Trading Standards has resulted in a prison sentence of four years and nine months for a rogue builder who deliberately targeted vulnerable residents of the London borough.
Ricki Paul Warby, trading as Hamilton Roofing and Building Services Ltd and Maynard Roofing Ltd, falsely persuaded his victims that their roofs were damaged and needed repair.
In some instances, roofs were deliberately sabotaged to back up claims that repair work was necessary. This resulted in £70,000 worth of damage, according to an independent surveyor.
In total Warby’s companies collected £86,000 from six elderly victims.
Her Honour Judge Canavan, presiding over the case, said Warby’s victims were “particularly vulnerable” and described his actions as a “sophisticated offence”, which was “all about fraud at the outset”.
Islington Council’s Trading Standards team were alerted to Warby’s criminal activities after a relative of an elderly resident contacted Citizens Advice.
Council officers visited the address and found a vehicle left there by Warby’s team. Business documents were seized from the vehicle which contained information that allowed the investigating officers to widen their inquiry and to contact other victims.
Warby was sentenced on 16 March at Snaresbrook Crown Court. As well as receiving a custodial sentence, he was banned from being a company director for seven years.
Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s Executive Director for Housing and Development, said: “Islington Council is determined to ensure that everyone in our community should have a decent, safe and affordable place to call home.
“In these offences, vulnerable people were deliberately sought out and in their own homes – where they should have been able to feel safe – were pressured and exploited. These were shameful offences, and thanks to the swift and careful actions of our Trading Standards team, the perpetrator has now been successfully prosecuted.
“We hope that this long prison sentence will send a clear message that this kind of exploitation will not be tolerated in Islington – if criminals target people in our community, we will take action, and we will come after you.”
(Image © GGB Surveyors)