A ROGUE trader from Swindon has been ordered to pay almost £40,000 after convincing a vulnerable old person to let him do work on her roof that wasn't needed. 

Mervyn Rhys Richards, 43, of Bourne Road in Moredon, pleaded guilty at Taunton Magistrates Court on Monday, November 6, and was ordered to pay a fine of £6,500, a £190 victim surcharge, £4,250 towards prosecution costs and £27,500 in compensation. 

In March last year, Richards responded to a job advert asking for a repair on a roof, he visited the property in Somerset and told the elderly householder that the repair could only be 'guaranteed' if the roof was replaced, at a cost of £27,500. 

The victim agreed to pay this and used her life savings to do so, but later called Avon & Somerset Police as they felt they had been involved in a scam, who in turn contacted Heart of the South West Trading Standards.

An independent surveyor employed by that organisation later examined the roof and concluded that the work was not reasonably necessary, it was overcharged, it was not in accordance with the invoice or British Standards and the value of the work was estimated to be nil because of the remedial work required.

Richards, who traded as MR Build IT Property Maintenance, was then prosecuted for one offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

In summing up, District Judge Brereton said that the victim was elderly and had used their life savings to pay for the work – but gave Richards credit for his guilty plea, that he showed genuine remorse and is committed to recompensing the victim.

The tradesman had previously contacted the Adver in May after he offered to replace £150 that was taken from a young mother's purse.

The woman was shopping at the Simply Local shop on Moredon Road when her purse was taken.

At the time he said: “I saw the article in the paper and I thought it was a pretty sad thing to happen and to replace it is a nice gesture for someone in the local community,” he said.

He added: "Times are hard at this minute so it is good to help those that are less fortunate.”

Alex Fry, operations manager for Heart of the South West Trading Standards, said: “This case hopefully sends a clear message to rogue traders that where necessary we will put you before the Courts.

"I would like to thank the victim in this case for coming forward and reporting the incident and supporting the investigation.”