THE VICTIM of a rogue builder said she felt shocked and devastated to have been duped by the ruthless roofer.

Grange Park pensioner Maureen Spours was persuaded by predatory Peter Gaskin to have roof underfelt replaced – despite there being nothing wrong with it. The damage has cost thousands of pounds to repair.

Now, the man who tricked her into having the work done has been handed a suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay back more than £17,000 in compensation to Mrs Spours and three other Swindon victims.

Mrs Spours, 75, said the incident had placed a strain on her relationship with her husband. She added of Gaskin: “All I hope is this man will be stopped from doing this to other people.”

Appearing before Swindon Crown Court, Gaskin, who has previous convictions for dodgy trade practices, was told by Judge Peter Crabtree to expect prison if he reoffended. Sentencing him to nine months imprisonment suspended for two years, the judge said: “You are lucky in many respects, Mr Gaskin, that there is mitigation. You are now at the stage where any further offences whatsoever – regulatory offences or any further offences – mean you will go to prison. There will be no choice.”

Swindon Crown Court heard that the 42-year-old company director had started working on Maureen Spours home in April 2018, replacing guttering and fascia boards. The pensioner had called Gaskin’s company, New Look uPVC, upon a recommendation from a friend.

After workers moved onto the site, Mrs Spours was told by Gaskin there was a problem with the underfelt material in her roof and offered to replace it and pressure wash the roof for a further £2,500.

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Poor work by Peter Gaskin's company Picture: SBC

Prosecuting, Alec Small said Gaskin failed to inform his victim of a statutory two-week cooling off period, allowing her to cancel the job. Instead, the work was done immediately.

Mrs Spours’ grandson looked at the roof the following day, warning her he thought the workmen had done a poor job. A local roofing firm concurred, recommending Mrs Spours contact trading standards. An expert commissioned by the council to look at the roof considered the work done to be effectively of no value whatsoever, Mr Small said.

Gaskin tricked a further three pensioners, their ages ranging from 72 to 89. In each case he failed to inform his victims of the statutory cooling-off period. One woman, 72, twice turned Gaskin away when he repeatedly knocked on her door – finally giving in on the third occasion. Gaskin, described as very pushy by the woman, used a card machine to get instant payment.

The Swindon court heard the work done was of poor quality. Pressure washing a roof to remove moss could leave it vulnerable to wet weather. The correct way to remove moss was with a brush and a hosepipe with a more gentle water pressure.

Gaskin, 42, of Bulkington, Warwickshire, pleaded guilty to seven counts of breaching unfair trading regulations. He had also used the logo of firm Free Foam UK without permission, breaking unfair trading laws.

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Poor work by Peter Gaskin's company Picture: SBC

The court heard Gaskin had previous convictions dating back to 2010 relating to aggressive commercial practices .

Nicholas Cotter, for Gaskin, said his client had a young family who would suffer if he was sent to prison. The builder had raised £17,713 with which to pay back his victims.

Sentencing him, Judge Crabtree said Gaskin knew well that he could not buy his way out of prison but it was an indication of his remorse. Gaskin was ordered to pay £2,000 costs to Swindon Borough Council and was banned from acting as a company director for the next five years.