‘Rogue Traders’ roofer admits fraud charge

A Ribble Valley roofer who featured on the TV programme “Rogue Traders” has avoided prison after defrauding a Barnoldswick customer and engaging in unfair commercial practice with several others.

Simon Fielding (54), of The Croft, Whalley Banks, Whalley, was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years at Burnley Crown Court on Monday.

Fielding was also ordered to pay a total of £5,500 compensation to three customers plus £5,000 court costs 
after admitting one count of fraud and seven of engaging in unfair commercial practice.

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Mr Jacob Dyer (prosecuting) told the court Fielding had advertised his company, Ribble Valley Roofing, in the Yellow Pages displaying a Confederation of Roofing Contractors emblem when he was no longer a member of the organisation.

Mr Dyer told the court Alexander Gibb, of Ambleside Close, Barnoldswick, had paid Fielding £1,800 for three days work with two men. However, a building surveyor had concluded the work should have cost nearer £500.

Fielding had also misled Richard Hutchinson, of Shawbridge Street, Clitheroe, by omitting to provide information on Mr Hutchinson’s rights to cancel a contract to fix a leaking roof.

Mr Dyer said Fielding had told Mr Hutchinson £4,800-worth of work was needed, but later that further problems would cost an additional £4,800. That was paid by cheque, but then Mr Hutchinson was told £1,500 more was needed for materials.

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Mr Hutchinson’s son-in-law was involved in a heated exchange with Fielding, who climbed on to the roof, threatening to remove the tiles, if he was not paid. A further £2,000 was paid to Fielding.

Trading Standards then wrote to Fielding with a number of questions but he did not reply. The court also heard Fielding had misled a Sabden man by omitting information about his cancellation rights and misled a Great Harwood woman in the same way with the addition of stripping a dormer window roof without the woman’s permission. Fielding wrongly told a Baxenden woman he had employed a structural engineer, who had advised him she needed part of her roof rebuilding at a cost of £30,000.

Mark Stuart (defending) said Fielding had left the Army after 20 years with a good record and had trained as a roofer and plasterer.

Mr Stuart said cancellation rights were on Ribble Valley Roofing invoices and that was something Fielding had now “put in order” and the federation emblem was an error at renewal of the Yellow Pages advert.

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Fielding’s defrauding of Mr Gibb had been a “one off” and the offences had occurred at a time when his client was under a “considerable amount of stress” with his daughter in hospital.

The court also heard Fielding had suffered bankruptcy and lost his Whalley home, which was sold for £500,000 at just over half its market value.