TWO traders who misled vulnerable people when doing work at their homes in Dorset have appeared in court.

Daniel Matthews, of Wellington Road, Bournemouth, cold-called an 84 year-old resident of Broadmayne, near Dorchester, in December 2016 and told him insulation put in just eight months previously was the wrong type and that the whole roof needed replacing and his superior foam insulation applied.

At his trial the jury heard that three months prior Matthews gave a deliberately inflated estimate to a Swanage resident for foam insulation totalling £6,150.

The 50-year-old was found guilty at Southampton Crown Court in October of dishonestly making false representations to the Dorchester consumer, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006. He was also found guilty of two other offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 of failing to provide information on that consumer’s right to cancel a contract, and giving a misleading, excessive quote to the Swanage consumer.

Matthews was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment at the same court on Thursday, November 22, and ordered to pay £15,000 in costs and compensation.

Another trader working at the same addresses was also fined for misleading the same two consumers in relation to other work. The prosecutions followed an investigation by trading standards officers from Dorset County Council.

Darren Carr, aged 50, of Victoria Road, Poole, and an associate of Matthews, was found guilty, at the same trial, of offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

He also misled the same resident from Broadmayne by presenting a £12,500 invoice detailing work required to be done on the roof, which was not necessary. Carr took a £3,000 deposit from the customer, and it was only when a concerned neighbour intervened that the work was stopped.

When installing a wood burner at the Swanage resident's home, Carr also stated he was HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme) Registered. He had earlier pleaded guilty to this unfair commercial practice.

Carr was ordered to pay a £1750 fine and costs of £8,000.

Following the sentencing, Councillor Andrew Parry, cabinet member with lead responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “Intervention by our trading standards officers is an important part of providing protection for vulnerable consumers from rogue traders but cases like these emphasis how vital it is for all of us to be alert to this sort of behaviour and to look out for our relatives and neighbours.”

Consumers who want to report unfair trading problems to trading standards, or to complain about any goods or services, should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.