ROGUE traders who targeted a 78-year-old woman and charged her thousands of pounds for unnecessary work to her roof have appeared in court.

Bournemouth-based More Than Homes Limited was ordered to pay £15,000 and £2,500 in costs following crimes carried out in Herefordshire.

The company's director and salesman, both from Bournemouth, were also fined by magistrates.

Director Michael Roche, 45, of Stourview Court, Southbourne Road and salesman Jason Johnson, 46, of Porchester Road were both fined £500 and ordered to pay £100 costs.

A spokesman for Herefordshire Council's trading standards department said the low level fines were due to both defendants being on universal credit.

And the council said the case is the latest in a long line from companies based in the Bournemouth area.

The company, based in Alum Chine Road, and the two individuals were all found guilty of the same charges following a three-day trial at Hereford Magistrates' Court.

They were convicted of aggressive practice after carrying out the work two days after the contract was made and failing to give the elderly home owner her 14-day cooling off period.

The court found they also misled the Ross-on-Wye woman into wholly unnecessary roof cleaning and coating work which damaged the roof.

And they were also found guilty of misleading the customer into believing £5,640 was a reasonable price for work when a chartered surveyor stated it was barely worth £1000.

Herefordshire Council’s trading standards service manager, David Hough, said: "We want family, friends and neighbours to remain vigilant in protecting elderly residents who are often the target of cold calling scams.

"This is an ever increasing problem now with rogues taking advantage of the green agenda. I would urge people to never respond to unsolicited telephone calls, mail shots, text messages or door-to-door selling.

"The council has a zero tolerance policy on rogue trading and our trading standards team will work tirelessly to crack down on anyone preying on vulnerable residents.

"This prosecution is one of what is a long line of cases against companies based in the Bournemouth area who target the elderly for bogus home improvements. These companies tend to sell waterproof wall and roof coatings and spray foam loft insulation."

He said they target the elderly by using databases of home owners over a certain age and telephone them to coerce them into agreeing an appointment which is then attended by a commission-only salesman.

The products are unnecessary and sold at vastly inflated prices.

Anyone concerned about the activity of a doorstep seller is urged to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.