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Builder charged £16,000 to repair a tile

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 August 2009 | UPDATED: 08:26 01 August 2010

A BUILDER has been convicted of conning an elderly couple out of £16,000 after repairing one broken roof tile.

Bill Simpson, of Hazel Lane, Hinton, was found guilty at Norwich Crown Court after being charged with fraud by false representation.

A BUILDER has been convicted of conning an elderly couple out of £16,000 after repairing one broken roof tile.

Bill Simpson, of Hazel Lane, Hinton, was found guilty at Norwich Crown Court after being charged with fraud by false representation.

The 51-year-old was handed a 40-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work, to pay £750 costs and repay his victims the £16,000.

The pensioners, Rachel and William Joyce, of Gorleston, feared they would never see the money they spent on their Lower Cliff Road home again.

But Detective Constable Dave McCormack, who led the investigation, gave the couple a cheque for £16,000 after Simpson was ordered to repay them the cash, which he had charged for repairing the roof tile.

Mrs Joyce, 79, told how builder Bill Simpson became “nasty” when she queried the amount.

She paid him off to get rid of him.

Simpson's conviction followed an investigation by Norfolk Constabulary's Operation RADAR Team.

The couple were aware they had a broken roof tile but found it hard to recruit a builder to carry out such a minor repair.

While walking along Lowestoft Road in Gorleston they met Simpson, who was working on another property.

Simpson inspected their roof and took photographs showing further broken tiles and rotten wooden batons.

Concerned by this damage, the Joyces agreed to have further repairs carried out.

The repairs were allegedly taking place for a period of four weeks, during which time the entire property was surrounded by scaffolding.

At the end of that period, the Joyce's were invoiced for more than £11,000.

A day later, they were handed

a further bill for more than

£4,000.

Mrs Joyce said: “Very little work was done. The bill was handed to us on a scrap of paper and he got quite nasty and stroppy when we questioned him.

“I gave him the money to get him out of the house.”

After seeking legal advice the couple contacted police who sent independent surveyors to inspect the work carried out at the property, who judged the couple had paid for work which hadn't been done.

Det Con McCormack said: “He [Simpson] took advantage of Rachel and William from the very start.

“They trusted him as a professional builder and they thought they had had a professional service but they hadn't.

“This was a disgusting crime which Mr Simpson and those that aided him should be thoroughly ashamed of.”

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