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Rogue trader pocketed £140k from customers after claiming BBC DIY SOS role

By Annabal Bagdi | Stourbridge | Crime | Published:

A rogue trader pocketed more than £140,000 from his ‘shoddy’ work after duping customers into believing he appeared on a BBC show.

Stafford Crown Court

James Carter pretended he featured on television programme DIY SOS to trick victims into thinking he was a reputable trader.

But the Stourbridge fraudster was not qualified to carry out any building or roofing works and instead conned 15 customers into paying for his poor and ‘worthless’ services.

Sitting at Stafford Crown Court, prosecutor Mr Mark Jackson said: “The quality of his work was appalling and when people complained, at least some of them were threatened and intimidated by him.”

Carter used eight different trading names, including Central Roofing Services, to carry out his plot to swindle customers of their cash over almost two years.

He used various surnames, including Fallon, Fallow and Williams, the court heard yesterday.

Dishonest

Unsuspecting customers, who were aged from their 30s to 70s, were also given fake business addresses where they sent complaint letters and received no response.

Mr Jackson added: “It’s all part and parcel of the dishonest way he was running his businesses.

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“He had hundreds of thousands of pounds going through his bank account which was not declared to HM Revenue and Customs.”

Carter, who was known as James Eccles until last August, drove around in a van falsely claiming he appeared on BBC’s ‘DIY SOS: The Big Build’, was Trust Marked and was covered by an insurance backed guarantee.

A number of his victims also came across him on site ratedpeople.com as he would launch a new account each time he received complaints.

Trading as Central Roofing, Carter was called on to fix a large leak at Stourbridge care home Safeharbour and provided a quote of £18,500 to replace its roof.

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Failed

The 40-year-old, of Vicarage Road, Wollaston, worked for a week but the roof started leaking again within three weeks, Mr Jackson said.

Care home staff attempted to get in touch but the number on the invoice failed to connect, someone else answered Carter’s mobile claiming it was wrong and it appeared he was not trading from the address provided.

He targeted families across the Black Country, including people living in Kingswinford, Dudley, Halesowen, Smethwick, Bilston and Telford.

On one occasion, the fraudster showed a certificate awarded to an Exeter man to a customer demanding to see his credentials.

Carter admitted two counts of fraud on the day of his trial after previously admitting a further three counts, which relate to offending between July 2015 and last February.

He was released on bail and is due before the same court for sentence on Monday.

Annabal Bagdi

By Annabal Bagdi
@AnnabalB_Star

Senior reporter based at head office in Wolverhampton.

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