Shropshire Star

Jailed: Dishonest roofer conned 'vulnerable' victims out of £35,000 to fund drink addiction

A heartless rogue trader who conned vulnerable victims out of more than £35,000 for building work he didn't complete has been jailed.

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Rogue builder William Longhurst who has been locked up by a judge

William Longhurst preyed upon pensioners, people who lived alone and those with medical issues to convince them to hand over money for work that was unnecessary and left incomplete. He left victims in a state of fear and anxiety, sometimes reducing them to tears and giving them sleepless nights, as he made false claims that their roofs would cave in.

One was tricked out of £26,000 while he also cheated another out of almost £5,000.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard the 32-year-old often used the same tactics to lure in his victims across Shrewsbury and Telford. He would often cold call and say he had leftover materials from another job that could be used for work on his 'customers'' homes.

He had already admitted seven counts of fraud by false representation and one of carrying on a roofing business for a fraudulent purpose when he appeared before a judge last month.

Prosecutor Kevin Saunders said that in the offending, which ran from July 2020 to March last year, he "preyed upon" his targets' weaknesses "in order to extract moneys repeatedly and dishonestly", failing to provide work or services after taking money in advance.

In one case he tricked an 87-year-old lady who lives alone. After cold calling her home, he offered to repaint flashing around her windows and chimney with paint left over from another job.

He then repeatedly asked for money, including payments of £700, £230 and two £300 instalments during July 2021.

The court heard she felt "gullible she took his word".