Cowboy builder father and son fleeced OAPs

Steven Lee Jnr
Steven Lee Jnr

Trading Standards officers have warned householders not to employ doorstep callers after a father and son team of cowboy builders from Bartle duped pensioners out of thousands of pounds.

Steven Lee Snr, 50, and Steven Lee Jnr, 27, carried out shoddy roof repairs on their victims’ homes and then handed them huge bills, a court heard.

Steve Lee Snr

Steve Lee Snr

One 69-year-old woman paid Lee Snr more than £15,000 for work done in 2012 and then had to pay a further £8,800 to another builder to put the botched job right.

An 81-year-old was charged £1,300 for roof work and it cost him another £200 to repair the repairs.

Lee Snr, of Rosemary Lane, Bartle, admitted five charges under the Consumer Protection of Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and was jailed for three months.

Bolton Crown Court was told he must serve half his sentence before being released on licence.

Judge Peter Davies also ordered him to pay £25,485 compensation to his two victims.

Lee Jnr, of the same address, pleaded guilty to two charges under the same act in relation to work on the woman’s house. He was given a two-year community order of 150 hours of unpaid work with costs of £500.

The court heard the father and son team targeted vulnerable elderly people in the Brandlesholme area of Bury, persuading them to have expensive work done on their homes.

The pair were caught after an investigation by Trading Standards officers.

David Toal, prosecuting for Bury council, told the court an expert inspected the work at the woman’s home and found it to be of a very poor quality.

The total paid out by the man and the woman, including cash they had to pay to other builders for the remedial work, was more than £25,000.

The court heard that when the male victim tried to call Lee Snr about the state of the work he was unable to get hold of him.

The elderly man was distressed by the scam and the woman victim, who used some of her life savings to pay for the substandard job, was unable to sleep because of stress caused by the ordeal.

Colin Drew, defending, said Lee Snr, who had spent his 50th birthday in prison, had now given up roofing because he was “terrified”of the consequences and was now selling second hand clothes and bedding on a market stall. He said: “He does have victim empathy and does accept that what he has done is wrong.”

Lee Snr had two previous convictions for similar offences, but his son had none.

Judge Peter Davies told Lee Snr: “The work was unsatisfactory, it was inadequate, it was badly done, it was shoddily done and it was incorrectly done.

“You targeted these people because they were vulnerable and because they were pensioners.

“It is quite apparent that you have a propensity to target pensioners.”

A Lancashire Trading Standards spokesperson warned other householders, particularly the old and vulnerable, not to employ cold callers.

“Our advice is always: ‘Don’t do business on your doorstep.’ If you need property repairs doing then be careful.

“We have a Safe Trader Scheme which lists tradesmen we have visited and can be vouched for.”