A TADLEY tradesman who overcharged customers for carrying out unnecessary roof repairs and building services has been jailed for four years.

Michael Wall, of Silchester Road, Tadley, appeared at Winchester Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud and proceeds of crime.

The court heard that Wall was trading under the name First Choice Roofing and had tricked a number of people in properties across Hampshire and West Berkshire.

Victims were charged a total of £268,000 for the work which was considered unnecessary and significantly overcharged.

The sentencing comes after a year-long investigation by Hampshire County Council and the Public Protection Partnership, which followed a complaint from a member of public about work the builder carried out for them.

The court heard that the 32-year-old would claim minor repairs were needed, but once work had started, Wall would artificially inflate the cost and scale of work and suggested disastrous consequences if not completed.

He was sentenced to four years for each count which will run concurrently.

After the sentencing chair of the Joint Public Protection Committee, Councillor Hilary Cole, said: “This was a serious pattern of offending with five of the victims residing in the Public Protection Partnership area.

“Crimes of this nature know no boundaries, and this was a very good example of trading standards officers working closely together across council boundaries to investigate and bring to justice a serial offender. We are grateful to our colleagues from Hampshire County Council for their co-operation and support with this investigation and prosecution

Leader of the county council, Councillor Keith Mans, also praised the work of the trading standards officers to help bring about this conviction.

Cllr Mans said: “Our Trading Standards officers work tirelessly to protect residents from falling victim to illegal activities taking place in Hampshire communities. This case is a prime example where the skill and expertise of the team – from the investigation through to the sentencing – has been highly commendable.

“I am very pleased that the perpetrator of these crimes has been brought to justice. We will not tolerate this behaviour and we remain committed to working with the courts to prosecute those who blatantly disregard the law.

“Hampshire’s Buy with Confidence scheme helps members of the public access a comprehensive directory of fully approved and insured tradespeople – which is a good starting point for residents looking for a reputable tradesperson.”