Roofer, 30, charged 83-year-old woman £6,000 to fix tile

Rogue roofer, 30, charged 83-year-old woman £6,000 to fix one tile after tricking her into believing she had a leak – but avoids jail because father-of-five is sole breadwinner for his family

  • Henry Pidgeley told an 83-year-old woman that her home needed urgent repair 
  • He showed her a wet piece of material to trick her into believing there was a leak 
  • Father-of-five carried out ‘shoddy and worthless’ work at her property in Kent
  • Admitted fraud but spared prison because he is the ‘breadwinner’ for his family 

A rogue trader who conned an 83-year-old woman out of £6,000 to fix one roof tile has been spared a prison sentence.

Henry Pidgeley claimed the pensioner’s home needed urgent repair after producing a wet piece of material to trick her into believing there was a leak.

But the father-of-five, 30, then carried out ‘shoddy and worthless’ tasks at the property in Bearsted, near Maidstone, Kent, after deceiving the vulnerable homeowner. 

Pidgeley was spared prison by a judge at Maidstone Crown Court (pictured), who told him he had, ‘behaved in an utterly disgraceful manner’

The homeowner’s gardener and a council community warden became suspicious and alerted police who cancelled the cheque before Pidgeley was able to cash it.

The work he carried out at the property in Bearsted, near Maidstone, Kent, in August last year were later assessed by experts and found to be ‘shoddy and worthless’.

The 30-year-old was initially employed by the pensioner, described as ‘vulnerable and easily-led’, after he posted flyers in the area offering power washes.

But having been asked to clean her courtyard of moss and debris, he then lied about one of her tiles slipping, Maidstone Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Ian Foinette told the court: ‘He produced a piece of wet material which he claimed had come from the roof.

‘When later examined by an expert there wasn’t a single trace of any ingress water coming in.

‘Where he had pointed out to her that there was damp coming through, there was no evidence.

‘When experts examined the work they said it was at best substandard, at worse worthless. It was shoddy.’

The cowboy builder, who admitted fraud, was spared jail on Friday (March 6) after a judge was told he was the sole breadwinner and carer for his young family.

Imposing a nine-month jail term suspended for two years, Judge Philip Statman told Pidgeley: ‘Your actions towards her were thoroughly dishonest and reprehensible.

‘You behaved in an utterly disgraceful manner towards an elderly and vulnerable member of the community.

‘I accept if I send you to prison it will cause immense suffering to your young family. I wonder how much you thought about the suffering you were going to cause your victim.

‘You deliberately committed this crime and almost got away with £6,000.’

Judge Statman praised the actions of the ‘decent-minded community members’ who came to the pensioner’s aid.

Pidgeley was ordered to pay £600 compensation within three months, and told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

A two-year criminal behaviour order (CBO) was also imposed, banning him from offering or carrying out any building or maintenance work on any residential property in the UK.


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