WINSFORD’S tradespeople have come to the rescue after rogue roofers fleeced an 81-year-old woman out of her life savings and left her without a proper roof. 

Ann Rowlands handed over more than £20,000 to Angling Roofing and Building Services, who claimed they’d taken over another firm who did minor repairs on her roof earlier this year.

They told her they needed to inspect it before they could take on liability for the guarantee.

But soon there were men on her roof pulling tiles off, and phone calls demanding ever larger sums of money.

After cleaning out all Ann’s life savings, including asking her to go to the Post Office and withdraw foreign currency, they sent her another bill for £10,000 and suggested she remortgage her house to pay it.

Ann’s bank contacted the police, as did her gardener, who thought the roofers’ behaviour was suspicious.

Since then, Angling haven’t contacted Ann or returned to her house, which they left with several large sections of the roof missing.  

Northwich Guardian: Chris Tilly (left) and Tommy Ellis putting the finishing touches to Ann's roofChris Tilly (left) and Tommy Ellis putting the finishing touches to Ann's roof (Image: Newsquest)

When Simon Smith, Ann’s neighbour, learned what happened, he took to social media to find a tarpaulin to make her house temporarily watertight.

But James Edwards, owner of JAE Roofing in Winsford, saw the post, and offered to repair Ann’s roof for free.

Since then, all sorts of tradespeople and businesses from across Winsford, including MJ Roofing Ltd, have offered their services, and over the weekend (November 25 and 26), Ann’s roof has been restored.

Northwich Guardian: Ann Rowlands (front) with (L to R) Tony Ellis; neighbour Simon Smith; and JAE roofing boss, James EdwardsAnn Rowlands (front) with (L to R) Tony Ellis; neighbour Simon Smith; and JAE roofing boss, James Edwards (Image: Newsquest)

“I’m just overwhelmed and amazed by everyone’s response,” Ann said.  

“It’s restored my faith in people. I really didn’t know there was so much goodness in the world.

“When I realised they were conmen, I nearly killed myself. I’m not joking.

“They took everything I had. I’ve got literally nothing left. It was my security.

“I’ve enough pension to cover the basics month to month, but it doesn’t stretch to things like road tax, car insurance, and paying for services and MOTs.”

Northwich Guardian: This is how the rogue traders left Ann's roof, which didn't need replacing in the first placeThis is how the rogue traders left Ann's roof, which didn't need replacing in the first place (Image: Simon Smith)

Neighbour Simon, who organised the response, said: “The community has been amazing.

“All I did was put a post on social media asking to borrow a big tarpaulin, but James came forward and said his firm would do the work free of charge.

“I honestly couldn’t believe it.

“So many local businesses have donated all sorts of materials and services too.

“Even the local chippy sent us our dinner, and a farmer came with his tractor and trailer.  

“There’s even a GoFundMe page to try and help Ann get some of her money back.

“There isn’t a word to describe these rogue traders. I don’t know how they sleep at night.”

James, who’s firm JAE Roofing led the repairs, said a new roof on Ann’s house should’ve cost between £5,000 and £8,000, but it didn’t need replacing in the first place.

“As soon as I saw the pictures Sy posted on Facebook I knew there was a problem,” he added.

“I knew it would all have to come off.

“I don’t know where they got £40,000 from - you could’ve replaced the roof on five of these houses for that.

“I reckon they must’ve spent £1,000 on materials, maximum.

“And everything they tore off, they just left down the side of Ann's house. She couldn’t even get into her garden.”

Cheshire Police have confirmed they've launched an investigation into Angling Roofing and Building Services. 

Police Constable Adam Baxter, of Northwich local policing unit, said: “Offences of this nature are absolutely sickening, and I would like to reassure residents we’re are doing all we can to identify the people responsible.

“I’d also like to express my thanks to the local community who have all pulled together and helped to fix the victim’s roof within just days of the incident being reported.”

Ann and Simon want to thank all the business and trades people who donated their time, services, and materials to help: Jamie Curzon; Mike Priestley; Tony Ellis; Chris Tilly; Chris Lomas; James Edwards; Peter Wilson; Jewson Middlewich; Huws Gray Winsford, Gap Plastics; Nick Brookes Skip Hire; The Brighton Belle; The Red Lion; Al’s Plaice Fish and Chips; UK Access Scaffolding; JAE Roofing Services Ltd; MJ Roofing Ltd; OCD; JR Ward and Sons; JLC Construction; and Winsford Tool Hire.