Portsmouth rogue trader left Copnor family's home 'a wreck' for six years after botched roof job

A ROGUE trader who left a family’s home ‘a wreck’ has escaped being locked up.

Friday, 29th April 2022, 4:14 pm

Paul Fulcher, who left a family living with a leaking roof on a house extension for nearly six years has been given a nine-month suspended jail sentence and 150 hours of non-paid work.

Fulcher, of Oyster Quay, Port Solent, has also been disqualified from being a company director for the next three years.

The 50-year-old, trading as P and P Contractors, agreed to build a single-storey extension at the back of a family home in Copnor in April 2016, but failed to complete the work sufficiently and the extension could not be signed off by building control.

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Portsmouth Crown Court

The homeowners experienced numerous leaks from the roof of the new extension and its pivot windows leading to damage inside the house because Fulcher had not built the extension’s roof to an adequate pitch and the roof was not sufficiently watertight.

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The family also discovered that Fulcher had failed to notify building control about the work as agreed and that building control had never visited the site to inspect the work.

Fulcher also provided documentation to the homeowners and to building control which included digitally altered photographs and an electrical certificate containing false information and incorrectly stating that Fulcher was a member of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC).

Portsmouth City Council's trading standards team began an investigation in early 2019 which concluded that the work had not been carried out by a competent contractor.

Following delays due to Covid, the trial was eventually due to take place in March 2022. However Fulcher instead agreed to enter guilty pleas to three offences relating to unfair commercial practices, misleading and false information, and not carrying out works to a professional standard.

He also made a voluntary payment of £20,000 compensation to the victims.

At sentencing Judge Sellers said: ‘This family's home was left in a wreck… you represented you were a genuine and legitimate firm and that you could do the work.

‘The complainant recalls crying continuously the night they found out building control had not been involved. The victim personal statements provided by the complainants reveal quite simply that they feel they live in a broken house.’

A Portsmouth City Council spokesperson said: ‘The actions of this individual have caused significant distress to the victims, and we are grateful that this sentencing can offer some closure and compensation to allow the family to make their house a home.

‘We will always investigate and take actions against individuals such as Fulcher, who undertake such reckless and incompetent works when they are neither qualified nor skilled to take on and we will continue to raise the public profile of such flagrant and deliberate flouting of the law, to help ensure our residents do not fall victim of rogue trading activities.’

How to protect yourself from rogue traders:

:: Do your research

:: Be wary of cold callers

:: Shop around

:: Avoid cash payment

:: Get help and advice if you need it - call Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or go to citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue

If you do run into problems with unscrupulous traders, contact PCC’s trading standards team, email: [email protected] or call (023) 9268 8183.