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Rogue roofer handed suspended prison sentence

A rogue trader from County Durham who failed to complete work he was paid for has been given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Paul Devine, of Cumbrian Way, Peterlee, admitted seven offences relating to unfair trading between October 2020 and July 2021, following two separate investigations by Durham County Council and Durham Constabulary.

The 25-year-old was trading as Devine Roofing and Property Maintenance when he first took upfront payments for work which he failed to carry out or refund.

Devine was paid more than £17,000 by six different customers to carry out roofing and home improvement works.

In each case he required an upfront payment for materials, which was paid by customers, despite work then either not being carried out at all or not being completed.

He also failed to refund the customers for the payment already provided. Having already pleaded guilty to seven offences, five of which were brought by the council and two by the police, Devine was sentenced at Durham Crown Court to six months in prison, suspended for two years. He must also complete 30 days of rehabilitation activity and 200 hours of unpaid work over 12 months.

Joanne Waller, the council’s head of community protection services, said: “Devine’s actions have not only left a number of customers counting the cost but also damaged their faith in tradespeople as a result. They also caused a great deal of distress to those people who had paid in good faith and rightly expected work to be carried out as agreed.

“I hope this case serves as a warning to any rogue traders who are thinking about operating across County Durham, as we will always take action against those who have scammed residents.” A police matter is also ongoing due to Proceeds of Crime Act considerations and compensation for Devine’s victims will be considered at the conclusion of this. Anyone who has concerns about a trader and the work they have carried out should contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506


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