A rogue trader has been told to pay more than £7,000 in compensation and court fees after overcharging a customer for shoddy work.

Stephen Arthur Reginald Wright, 36, was set to face trial at Telford Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday over three charges of fraud, but changed his pleas to guilty at the start of the hearing.

Mike Davies, prosecuting for Shropshire Council, told the court the offences dated back to August 2021 when Wright cold called a property in Park Hall, near Oswestry, to say the roof was in need of repair or could be at risk of collapse.

Mr Davies said Wright used a false name to avoid revealing his true identity – as it had only been a matter of months since he was released from prison for similar offences.

He also showed the homeowner a business website on his phone, highlighting a number of positive customer testimonials, but the business was not his.

A price of £5,600 was agreed for the work, but Mr Davies said Wright did not inform the victim of the legally-required ‘cooling off period’.

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Despite assurances that he would not pay a penny until the work was complete, the homeowner received a message later that day asking for £2,300 up front. This was paid, and the work began the following day.

After starting the work, Wright informed the victim that for an extra £3,800 the whole roof could be replaced, but the offer was declined.

Over the next two weeks several further payments were requested and sent via bank transfer, but Mr Davies said the victim became increasingly concerned about the standard of the work and the requests for money.

Using images from his home CCTV, he carried out some online research and identified that the person he had been dealing with was in fact Stephen Wright.

When the victim told Wright he knew his true identity, Wright apologised for lying but said his life was “in a mess” and he had no money.

Mr Davies said once the job was completed the victim experienced several problems with leaks over the following month, which Wright returned to try and fix.


In total the victim paid £4,295 for the work, which an expert surveyor later valued at £1,300 plus VAT. The victim also had to pay £1,800 to have someone else rectify the work.

Mr Davies said Wright, a father-of-four, had previously been convicted in July 2019 for similar offences, for which he received a 21-month prison sentence.

Tariq Hussain, representing Wright, told the court his client had been dealing with a cocaine and cannabis problem at the time of the latest incident but had now been clean for 15 months.

Mr Hussain said: “It is not disputed by [the victim] that efforts were being made to try to do this job.

“It wasn’t the case that the work wasn’t required.”

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Mr Hussain said Wright falsely claimed the customer testimonials as his own “out of desperation” to try and get some work, adding that he did not “take the money and run”, but returned multiple times to finish the job and attempted to rectify the problems.

Mr Hussain said Wright had not been in trouble in the two years since the offences, and was now working for his father-in-law.

Wright, previously of Cherry Tree Drive, St Martin’s, but currently of Picton Gorse Lane, Chester, was handed a 12-month community order with 250 hours of unpaid work.

He was ordered to pay £1,800 compensation to the victim as well as the council’s full costs of £5,331.75.