A ROOFING fraudster has been handed a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud.

Stephen Spurling, of Station Road, Balsall Common, traded as Red Roofing Ltd and made his guilty plea follow an investigation by Dudley Council’s trading standards in which officers found he conned a Dudley consumer into paying for work that was never completed.

In July 2020, the homeowner had posted an enquiry via nexdoor.co.uk asking for roofer recommendations. He received a message asking if he still needed a roofer and if he would like the company to come out and quote. He responded to the message which resulted in Stephen Spurling visiting his home in Stourbridge on July 18, 2020, to provide a quote.

During the visit Spurling provided a leaflet advertising his business which said Red Roofing Ltd was a family run business with over 20 years’ experience. The reality was that Red Roofing Ltd did not exist and was not a family business.

Spurling quoted £8,000 for the work which he said he would start on July 27, 2020. He requested £1,500 deposit for materials which was paid by the homeowner but the work never began. The only thing that was delivered was an empty skip. The consumer made several attempts to contact Spurling who gave excuses for failing to start the job.

The homeowner requested their money back but was ignored, which led to them contacting trading standards.

Spurling was sentenced to 23 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Thursday May 2.

He was given 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days to reduce the prospect of reoffending and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, and pay £4,800 towards costs.

Dr Mayada Abuaffan, Dudley Council's director of public health, said: "This case demonstrates the importance of the service provided by Trading Standards.

"Officers investigate cases to protect the rights of consumers and to put a stop to the illegal activity of rogue builders who will go to extreme lengths to mislead honest consumers into handing over their money under false pretences."