A FORMER roofing firm boss has been jailed after admitting he charged a customer tens of thousands of pounds when he shouldn't have.

Richard Whelan, of Blacon, appeared at Mold Crown Court on Friday afternoon.

The 40-year-old had previously admitted 11 regulatory offences pertaining to a roofing job he took on for a Holywell resident named Julie Hughes in 2019.

Laura Shepherd, prosecuting for Flintshire Council, told the court that initially Whelan, who at the time was director of RPW Roofing Services Limited, quoted the complainant £14,000 to re-roof her bungalow and an extra £3,500 to roof an extension which was to be built by someone else.

Throughout the job he gained the complainant's trust and told her he'd make sure she wasn't taken advantage of.

But as the work continued, he told her on numerous occasions that he had incurred extra cost and that various other things would need to be completed or installed at the property - inflating the price.

Between August and November 2019, the complainant gave him more than £40,000 in bank transfers and cash.

The more she paid, the more she became concerned, the court heard.

When finally she refused to pay any more money, he stopped picking up the phone.

The work was later examined and found to be substandard, and the roof was "left in a dangerous state" with tiles having become detached, incorrectly fitted windows and leaks.

He even asked her for £4,000 to remove asbestos, but when the roof was later examined it was found it didn't contain asbestos.

Whelan also charged Ms Hughes £4,000 for 'bat and rat grills' which she didn't need and overcharged her for tiles he'd already sourced - which police confirmed by checking his bills.

When he was interviewed in September last year, Whelan accepted 'most' of what he was told. but said he couldn't remember some of the details.

He said he was willing to reimburse her and make everything right - but the court heard to date he hasn't repaid a penny.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Ms Hughes said the offences had made her feel physically sick, labelling Whelan as "devious."

"The unfairness of it was upsetting," she said.

"I was helpless."

Myles Wilson, defending, said: "Mr Whelan got experience as a roofer working with other roofers and made the disastrous decision to start his own business; RPW Roofing.

"He made a mess of things. He used men to do the work and struggled to find money to pay their wages.

"He has now stopped working as a roofer and has gone back to working as a labourer. "He felt out of his depth and feels ashamed of how he's behaved towards Ms Hughes.

"He's clearly taken advantage."

Asked by Judge David Hale whether there was any prospect of the complainant getting her money back, Mr Wilson said: "He simply hasn't got the means to do it - he hasn't got a bank account with cash in.

"It;s unfortunate for all concerned."

Judge Hale told Whelan: "You went to this job and you used that as a cash cow. "Obviously some things do change during a contact but this was extreme. "You were promising her so much, and when you couldn't cope with it any more you wouldn't answer the phone.

"You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself."

Judge Hale handed him a total sentence of 18 months imprisonment and disqualified him from being a company director for five years.

Whelan must also pay a £149 victim surcharge within three months of his release.