Pensioner conned out of £3,500 for shoddy roof work

114182-651_COURT_TOMNEY_SR_25/11/11'Robert Tomney outside Portsmouth Magistrates Court.''Picture:114182-651
114182-651_COURT_TOMNEY_SR_25/11/11'Robert Tomney outside Portsmouth Magistrates Court.''Picture:114182-651
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A ROGUE builder who conned an 83-year-old widow out of more than £3,500 has been ordered to pay the money back.

Robert Tomney fleeced great grandmother Pamela Schofield after turning up on her doorstep and offering to fix her roof.

But he bombarded her with requests for cash and instead of fixing the problem left her with water pouring into her home.

Mrs Schofield, of Laburnum Grove, North End, Portsmouth, said: ‘I trusted him but he was a con artist. It was a nasty experience. It was a nightmare of a year.’

Bone cancer patient Ms Schofield employed Tomney, 43, in July last year.

A day later he asked for £1,800 for materials. After a week scaffolding was put up at Mrs Schofield’s home and some work was done – but then a request came for more cash. Ms Schofield handed over a total of £1,450 on three further occasions.

Each time Tomney said someone would turn up to finish the work. But no-one did.

Mrs Schofield then contacted Trading Standards at Portsmouth City Council and Tomney twice signed documents saying he would finish the work.

Desperate Mrs Schofield handed over a further £300. But still her roof wasn’t fixed.

Almost two months after Tomney was employed a Trading Standards official inspected the roof.

He discovered cheap materials had been used and the work that had been done was botched. Mrs Schofield eventually paid another contractor £2,144 to get the roof fixed properly.

She said of Tomney: ‘He had an excuse for everything. My roof was dripping with water and I had nowhere to turn. He had ripped off my tiles and ripped off the slats and the water was pouring in.

‘For about two months it was a nightmare. Trading Standards backed me all the way. They found me a new builder. I don’t know what I would have done without them.’

Tomney, of Stamshaw Road, Stamshaw, Portsmouth, admitted engaging in a commercial practice which was a misleading action by mis-stating the method and date of provision of repairs to Mrs Schofield’s roof. He was told to pay £3,500 compensation to Mrs Schofield by Portsmouth magistrates.

It is the first time the city council has brought a prosecution under the Consumer Protection For Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Peter Emmett, Trading Standards intervention manager, said: ‘I’m very pleased that the court has fully compensated Mrs Schofield for this appalling work.’