Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Gainsborough roofer fined over £10,000 but avoids jail despite gambling away customers’ cash

Leon David Mann of Pilgrims Way, Gainsborough, was handed a 16-month suspended sentence and fined at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday 20 May 2022.

Mr Mann pled guilty to 12 offences under the Fraud Act 2006, following a nine-month investigation by Lincolnshire Trading Standards.

Trading Standards received complaints about Mr Mann and his company, Gainsborough Roofing, taking 50 per cent deposits of between £500 to £2,750 upfront, and then no work being carried out.

Mr Mann claimed the deposits were to purchase materials and to secure start dates. But the Trading Standard’s investigation revealed that as soon as deposits were paid into Mr Mann’s bank account, he used the money on online gambling sites.

When the victims tried to contact Mr Mann after he failed to turn up to carry out the work they had paid for, they were given various excuses including personal illness, family illness, adverse weather, vehicle problems and Covid. Some victims said they found Mr Mann charming when they first met him, but he became aggressive and intimidating when they had to start chasing him.

In one case, Mann took over £2,000 from a family to repair a leaking roof. He subsequently failed to carry out any of this work. At the time, one of the occupants of the property was going through cancer treatment.

Over an eight-week period through the height of winter, the family contacted Mr Mann and agreed new start dates, which were then missed, causing more stress to the family.

Eventually, after being promised they were ‘next on the list’, Mr Mann agreed to refund the deposit. This was never refunded, and the family instead had to find extra money to pay another tradesman to do the necessary work.

Another victim of Mann was going through radiotherapy at the time they paid £2,750 as a 50% deposit for repairs to their roof.

Mann arrange a number of different start dates before eventually promising to refund the couple. Again he failed to refund a penny of the deposit they paid.

Leon Mann plead guilty to 12 offences under the Fraud Act 2006 at Lincoln Magistrates Court.

Due to the number of victims, period of Mann’s offending, and the impact on the victims, the case was referred to Lincoln Crown Court for sentencing.

On 20 May 2022, Mr Mann was handed a 16 month custodial sentence, suspended for two years; ordered to pay compensation totalling £9,410 within six months, and; ordered to pay £2,500 to the prosecution within 12 months.

Tara Carter, Senior Trading Standards Officer at Lincolnshire Trading Standards, said:

“The vast majority of Lincolnshire’s builders complete their work on time and to their customers’ satisfaction.

“When this is not the case and traders take money for inadequate work, or simply don’t do the work at all, then Lincolnshire Trading Standards team are here to protect residents from rogue trader activities.

“At the time of the offences, starting from December 2019 up to May 2021, Mr Leon Mann was trading as Gainsborough Roofing. And, since December 2020, he was aware he was being investigated but still continued taking victims money with either no intention of doing any work, or doing work to shoddy standards.

“I’m pleased that the judge has recognised the severity of Mr Mann’s crimes and the impact he’s had on his victims, and most of them will be getting their money back.”

 

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