A contractor made such a mess of an extension to a house in Bishops Itchington that he could not get the work approved so he supplied forged certificates to cover it.
Once Simon Peacey’s deception was discovered, the house owner had to pay a further £30,000 to get the extension brought up to standard, a judge has heard.
Peacey (32) of Starbold Road, Bishops Itchington, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a charge of fraud by supplying fake electrical installation and building inspection certificates.
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years, and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay £300 prosecution costs.
Prosecutor Angus Robertson said Peacey was a contractor who became known to his victim Stephen Cooper through Mr Cooper’s son, and he was asked to carry out ‘quite substantial work’ to Mr Cooper’s late father’s home.
Peacey gave a quote of £50,000 for the work on the house in Chapel Street, Bishops Itchington, which included installing central heating, demolishing and rebuilding an extension, and rewiring.
The work, during which Peacey engaged a number of sub-contractors, was carried out between 2015 and the summer of last year, during which costs rose, and the final bill came to £69,214.
Mr Cooper had planned to sell the property to help fund his retirement, and once the work was finished, he placed it with a firm of estate agents.
In order to sell the house, the agents needed electrical installation and building inspection certificates to cover the work which had been carried out on it.
Asked to provide them, Peacey first handed over a signed building inspection certificate, followed by an electrical installation certificate purportedly issued by a Warwick-based electrical company.
But Mr Cooper had suspicions about them, and when he contacted the two firms to ask them to confirm they had issued the certificates, they said they had not.
When Peacey was arrested and interviewed over the false certificates, he said the work had been carried out by a variety of contractors, but could not provide their names.
He said the certificates had been sent to him by the contractors and, told they had been forged, he claimed he could not explain that, said Mr Robertson.
As a result of the lack of genuine certificates, the sale of the house fell through – and Mr Cooper had to spend a further £30,000 on remedial work before certificates could be issued.
Nick Devine, defending, suggested that it was ‘a slightly unusual case,’ because had Peacey gone on to obtain the proper certificates, the loss would have been the same because the work would still have had to have been brought up to standard.
“He took on a job in which he was out of his depth, and after Mr Cooper had expended £70,000, what he had was shoddy workmanship. Had he come clean, this would be in the civil court, not the criminal court.
“The consequence of his work and subsequent consequences of his fraud have been profound. Mr Peacey feels that acutely.
“It is plainly not a premeditated fraud. He set out with the intention of doing the work properly,” added Mr Devine.
Sentencing Peacey, Judge Murray Creed told him: “Rather than say there were problems with the work straight away, you sought to hide this from the Coopers.
“At the conclusion of the work you produced fraudulent documents in relation to the electrical certification and the building regulations certification.
“It may be that liability is to be shared among others, so I am not going to make an order for compensation, although there may be a civil claim brought against you.
“You have never been in trouble before, and I acknowledge your remorse. I accept it was not fraudulent from the outset, but became fraudulent.”