Shropshire Star

Victims of deceitful roofer recall cruel tactics, pressure and their shame at being conned

"I feel so stupid being taken in so easily. I missed meals and had to eat very simply in order to get by. The whole episode has completely undermined my confidence in being able to trust people to keep me in my own home."

Conman: William Longhurst has been given a jail term of more than two years

The words above are those belonging to some of William Longhurst's victims, many of whom were elderly or had health conditions when preyed upon by the 32-year-old.

Longhurst left a trail of destruction and destitution in his wake across Shrewsbury and Telford as he conned them out of thousands of pounds for unnecessary home repairs, often done to a poor standard and left incomplete - if done at all - while pressuring them to hand over more money.

A regular tactic was to cold call and tell homeowners the roofs of their homes were about to cave in, causing them sleepless nights and leaving them in tears as they lived in fear about damage above their heads that wasn't there.

The dishonest builder was jailed for more than two years at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Friday, where victim impact statements were read out, laying bare the agony he caused.

Some of those victims have also agreed to share their testimonies with the Shropshire Star.

One woman said that Longhurst preyed upon her vulnerability with her husband unwell and her mum dying shortly before he got in touch.

She told the court: "Being told that the roof was going to cave in - it made me ill. I felt trapped once it started and had to go along with it. There was constant pressure with Mr Longhurst phoning me up for things to be done and telling me in person that new things needed to be done."

Despite being visibly upset, he often reported more 'problems'.

"If I could go to sleep, it was the last thing I thought of at night and the first thing in the morning. What we could have done with the money made me feel guilty. My husband's mobility scooter needed replacing and we could have used it for other things."

In total she paid Longhurst £25,888.54 for work, money that was 'left to her by her mum when she passed away'. She then had to pay another roofer £2,900 to fix his shoddy work as rainwater "poured in" the first time it rained after he replaced the flat roof on the kitchen.

In her victim impact statement, she recalled how Longhurst rang her up on her wedding anniversary day from a withheld number.

"I heard in a slurred voice 'this is the woofer.' This was said three times.

"I asked, 'Is this Will?'.

"'You've set Trading Standards onto me!'