A builder from Sunderland who left a trail of dissatisfied homeowners has been prosecuted after a string of complaints.
Young, who ran the business from Havelock Court, also placed misleading newspaper advertisements, claiming the business was part of an approved traders scheme when it was not.
Gary Anthony Young, who traded as Marley Roofcare Ltd, left five customers more than £15,000 out of pocket and became the subject of an investigation by trading standards officers.
Young denied any wrongdoing, but failed to turn up at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court for his trial, which was heard in his absence.
The bench, led by chairman Jennifer Bell, returned guilty verdicts on all six counts.
Prosecutor Jim Wotherspoon, proseciting, told the court one of Young’s victims was Sumi Begum, of Chatsworth Street, Barnes.
In the end, I lost track of how much money I had paid him, but it was more than £6,000Sumi Begum
She asked Young to do roofing work on her house.
She said: “He said he was already working in the street which would make the job a bit cheaper. The roof was leaking, and Mr Young said he would install a strip between my roof and the neighbour’s which would take the water to the ground.
“As the work progressed, he found more work which he said needed doing, and for which he took extra money. In the end, I lost track of how much money I paid him, but it was more than £6,000.
“The roof still leaks, I tried calling Mr Young many times, but nothing has been done.
“I borrowed money from my family to pay for some of the work, which will have to be redone.”
Another customer in Chatsworth Street, Vincent Cooper, said he paid £1,445, and - not only was work not carried out - but his front and back gardens were ruined and his bedroom window was left cracked.
He told the court he was forced to replace his roof at a cost of £6,000.
Karin Alderson told the court she paid £900 for work on her home in Hollinside Road, Grindon.
A surveyor later found Young had not done the correct work to cure a mould problem, and what he had done should not have cost more than £710.
Another victim paid out £4,500 for work on five properties she owned, which was never carried out, while an elderly customer said he was left distressed when Young was abusive to him after he forked out £1,650.
The court heard Marley Roofcare’s newspaper advertisements carried the ‘Checked and Vetted’ logo.
But Christine York, from the Checked and Vetted scheme, said she had never heard of either Young or Marley Roofcare.
At an earlier hearing, Young - as sole director of Marley Roofcare Ltd - denied six charges of engaging in an unfair commercial practice between January, 2015, and June of last year.
Young was written to and told the trial would proceed in his absence if he failed to attend court.
Magistrates, led by chairman Jennifer Bell, returned guilty verdicts on all six counts.
Five of these were of knowingly or recklessly engaging in a commercial practice which contravened the requirements of professional diligence and which materially distorted the economic behaviour of the average consumer with regard to a product.
The sixth count was one of engaging in commercial practice containing false information likely to have caused the average consumer to take a transactional decision they would not have taken otherwise.
Mrs Bell said a letter would be sent to Young, telling him to attend court on March 29 for sentence.
She added: “If he fails to attend a warrant without bail will be issued for his arrest.”
The Echo has tried to contact Young for a comment.
HOME OWNERS ADVISED TO MAKE CHECKS
After the case, Sunderland City Council advised people to ensure any trademen they employ are registered with a professional assocaiation.
Coun Michael Mordey, Portfolio Holder for City Services at Sunderland City Council, said: “As the court has recognised, this builder showed a complete disregard for his customers.
“Following an investigation by Trading Standards officers, the council has prosecuted him for his serious offences.
“Although cases such as this, thankfully, are not common,
“I very much hope that this prosecution reminds any other traders tempted to treat their customers badly to act fairly.
“Just as importantly, it is a reminder to all householders that they can always check with the professional or trade association if people are reputable.
“A genuine company or trader will never mind you checking.”