Birmingham & Black Country

Fraudulent DIY SOS builder jailed for conning customers

James Carter Image copyright Dudley Trading Standards
Image caption James Carter appeared to have no qualifications to undertake building or roofing works

A rogue trader who conned customers out of £140,000 and pretended his firm worked on BBC One's DIY SOS programme has been jailed for five years.

James Carter let his 15 victims believe he was a skilled roofer and builder but he was in fact "grossly incompetent", Stafford Crown Court heard.

If customers complained, he often used threats and intimidation.

The 40-year-old, from Stourbridge, West Midlands, had earlier admitted five charges related to fraudulent trading.

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The court heard Carter, of Vicarage Road, Wollaston, appeared to have no qualifications to undertake building or roofing works and customers often had to pay out more to remedy the work he did through his firm Central Roofing Services.

A 69-year-old woman was left so frightened after he threatened her when she challenged him about the quality of his work that she locked herself in her house until he left, Dudley Trading Standards said.

Image copyright Dudley Trading Standards
Image caption Carter's van brazenly claimed the firm had appeared on the TV show

"There were suggestions that he and the boys would come round to strip the roof off one of the properties," spokesman Chris King said.

Evidence from the 15 customers cheated out of money by Carter, who also had three aliases, included a care home in Stourbridge which paid £18,000 for a new roof, which was found to be leaking three weeks later.

A woman from Solihull paid £80,000 for an extension to her home but then had to spend a further £20,000 because Carter's work was so poor.

Carter was once seen fleetingly on the BBC prime time programme fitting a window while working as a labourer for another firm, but then told customers the "complete lie" that he was part of the show to give something back to the community, the court heard.

The prosecution alleged he also drove around in a van which falsely represented, through its livery, that his business had undertaken work on the show.

Carter was also given a criminal behaviour order which bans him from providing future roofing or building services.

Image copyright Dudley Trading Standards
Image caption James Carter's customers often had to pay out more to remedy the work he did

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