A conman roofer is STILL working in the trade and threatening customers in Aberdeenshire – despite having been jailed for similar antics in the Highlands in 2016.
Rogue trader Frank Docherty – who lied to customers that his name was Tom – was abusive and threatening to pensioners while working for his dad’s firm, Granite Roofing Ltd.
The 30-year-old slater bombarded customers with phone calls demanding money, threatened to remove materials from their roofs, refused to leave without being paid and even denied receiving a payment of £10,000.
Aggressive Docherty also offered to drive one frightened pensioner to the bank to withdraw money to pay him.
But his brave victims reported the matter to the police and have now spoken about their ordeal in a bid to stop others from making the same mistakes they did.
These offences – in Portlethen and Blackdog in 2022 – come as Docherty still works in the trade despite being jailed for defrauding and ripping off customers in the Highlands to the tune of more than £9,000.
Docherty, of Lochside Crescent, Montrose, has now appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted charges of breach of the peace and allowing Granite Roofing Ltd to engage in aggressive practices.
Fiscal depute Peter Finnon said a couple in their 60s in Portlethen had contacted Granite Roofing Ltd in April 2022 to fix a problem with their roof.
Docherty, who lied and said his name was Tom, kept upping the price of the work and eventually turned aggressive turned up and a price of £2,400 was agreed for the work.
Despite a price of £2,400 being initially agreed, Docherty told the couple further work was required and they agreed to pay him £12,000.
Docherty was paid £10,000 in cash, but went on to advise even more work was needed and a total cost soared to £32,000.
However, when the work was completed, the couple had concerns about it and raised these with Docherty on April 29.
Mr Finnon told the court: “Mr Docherty called the complainer at work on May 2, demanding he pay the bill in full in cash.
“He offered to take the complainer to the bank to get the money.
“On May 4, Mr Docherty repeatedly called the complainer while he was at home with his wife.
“He continued to demand the bill was paid immediately and stated he would not be coming to finish the screwcaps, which was one of the issues the complainer had raised.”
Due to the number and content of the calls, the couple decided to record one of them.
During it, Docherty is heard to be “aggressive” and stated he “had the right to take his materials back by law” and he’d “just take all the materials back”.
Mr Finnon added: “He repeatedly denied he’d been paid £10,000 in cash.
“The complainers were so concerned that they called their solicitor and the police.”
The following day, Granite Roofing Ltd returned and finished the screwcaps, after which the couple immediately transferred the remaining balance of £21,600.
‘The whole point is to make sure that it doesn’t happen to other people’
Another couple, from Blackdog, contacted Granite Roofing Ltd in September 2022.
A price of £2,500 plus VAT was quoted for the roofing work, which the couple were told would take two to three days.
Docherty, who again called himself Tom, attended in September to give them the quote and other employees came back the next day to do the work.
Mr Finnon told the court: “Mr Docherty attended later in the day and said they had found further problems with the roof and it would cost another £850 plus VAT to fix.”
The couple agreed and were quoted £4,020 in total for the work, replacing the original quote.
Mr Finnon went on: “Mr Docherty returned to the property around 5pm that day and the work was finished.
“As the complainer had expected the work to take longer and realised he’d been charged £4,020 for a single day’s work, he sought to dispute the bill with Mr Docherty given it was, in his opinion, too expensive.”
However, Docherty and the firm stated they would stay there until the bill was paid.
The intimidating rogue trader stayed at the address for an hour and a half before eventually leaving.
The couple were initially relieved but Docherty soon began bombarding them with phone calls, even pretending to be his father, the director of the company, in some of them.
‘He got very, very aggressive’
Eventually, the complainer “reluctantly” agreed to pay £3,000, feeling like he had “no choice”.
Mr Finnon said: “When checking the roof, the complainer saw it to be substandard and reported the incident to Trading Standards.”
Defence agent Murray Macara KC said his client is married with three children.
He said that in the first incident, the entire roof had to be replaced due to various defects.
He added: “I don’t really wish to say very much about it. I don’t take issue with the narrative.”
Sheriff Shirley McKenna ordered Docherty to complete 190 hours of unpaid work.
Following the case, the Portlethen couple from the first incident spoke to The Press and Journal about feeling “intimidated” and issued advice for others to avoid becoming victims.
The husband said: “He had a very, very good and credible website.
“He came out and seemed very credible so we gave him the go-ahead.
“Every couple of hours after that there was always something different and extra needing done on the roof.
“Every time there was a knock on the door it was something else needing to be done on the roof.”
The man explained he was unhappy with the quality of the work and wished to hold back payment until various issues were rectified.
‘Don’t be fooled by flashy websites’
He said: “That’s when the phone calls started demanding payment – ‘I’ll easy take you to the bank’.
“It was quite intimidating talking to him.
“He got very, very aggressive. Aggressive when he got challenged when he was doing the work, then he’d calm down and fix it.”
The couple had to get another roofer out to do further work on the roof after Docherty was gone.
He continued: “The whole point of going to Trading Standards and everything else was to try and make sure that it doesn’t happen to other people.
“It wasn’t to get back at him or to try and recover any of the money we paid, it’s just to prevent him carrying on doing it and abusing other people.
“When we did research after the event we found he had a history of it.”
Asked if he had a message for others looking to hire tradesmen, he said: “Do your research and check out the testimonials if you can.
“Don’t be fooled by flashy websites.
“Don’t do anything verbally. Do it in writing.”
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