An elderly man suffering with cancer who was conned out of £9,000 by rogue builders has had his faith in humanity restored after the community rallied to fix his ruined roof.
A neighbour of 80-year-old Jack, from Morecambe, was so disgusted at the state the roofers left his property in that she set up a Facebook page for members of the community to donate money to help buy materials to mend his roof.
So far, the page ‘Help mend Jack’s roof’ has managed to raise £945.
Jack said: “I’m rather embarrassed about all this help.
“If I can get enough money to get the roof fixed, the rest of the money will go to St John’s Hospice, where my wife died. I’m amazed, I just can’t believe it.
“I feel extremely embarrassed because all these people are being so kind and offering to put it right.
“A builder from Bristol has offered to come and work on the roof and money has been donated from America. “
Clare Huddleston, who set the page up, said: “I feel absolutely disgusted and sickened that an 80-year-old man who is one of my neighbours and is being treated for cancer has been ripped off for nearly £10,000.
“He had two young men knock at his door a few weeks ago telling him he had some loose tiles on his roof and they could fix them for a couple of hundred pounds.
“He agreed and so they did. But then they told him there was something else wrong until they ended up renewing the roof and guttering and charged him just under £10,000.
“My heart just broke because he said he couldn’t pay any more out.
“Someone at that time of life shouldn’t have to go through this.”
It was on February 4 that Jack was approached by the two men who said that the lead and ridge tiles needed grouting.
Theytold Jack it would cost £160 to fix but then they said tiles on the side of the house had broken and it would be £380.
Then they said they had found a hole in the roof and they could replace the whole roof for £9,000.
Jack said: “Stupidly and embarrassingly I agreed. During the job they broke a hinge on a window and walked right across the back of the roof and brought the ceiling down in two bedrooms.
“They swept sand and rubble into the drains and blocked them.
“The guttering they put up came down two days later and the ridge tiles weren’t even stuck down properly. I wasn’t really happy with it but I just wanted to get rid of them.
“I’ve been told it will cost £3,500 to £4,000 to fix the roof properly. It knocked me back but I’m trying to be philosophical about it. The roofers have been reported to Trading Standards and the police.”
A spokesman for Trading Standards said: “We are aware of the case and we are investigating.”
Mandy Maxim, principal officer for Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Service, said: “Unscrupulous doorstep tradesmen often target older people and try to get them to pay over the odds for home improvements or repairs. Our top piece of advice is never to do business on the doorstep.”
To donate, visit the Facebook page at ‘Help mend Jack’s roof’ and donate at http://www.gofundme.com/ncnaw8.