TEESSIDE Magistrates today (11 January) fined a Hartlepool roofer who trades as RS Roofline.
Richard Stokle, 25, of Kipling Road, Hartlepool pleaded guilty to three offences under the Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations.
One offence related to failing to give a consumer a written notice of cancellation rights and the other two related to the fact that the trader started work on the consumer's property without permission and then failed to leave when asked.
He was fined £800 and ordered to pay costs of £800.
The magistrates heard Stokle had cold called on a resident in Billingham and told her he had noticed a problem with the roof tiles on her property and that her chimney was cracked and leaning. He told her that he could do the work for £220. She told him that she couldn't afford to have the work done but if he left a business card she could contact him in the future.
A week later the resident returned from the shops to find a number of men taking tiles from the roof and porch of her property. The resident contacted the Police and Stockton Council's Trading Standards who were able to respond in time to find the men still at the property.
Stokle had previously received advice from an officer from Hartlepool Trading Standards about the legal requirement to give consumers a written notice of their right to cancel contracts signed at home.
In mitigation, Mr Stokle was given credit for an early guilty plea.
Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety said: "The lady was extremely distressed by this incident and if it had not been for the prompt actions of the officers from Trading Standards who knows what may have happened. All too often doorstep traders intimidate consumers into having work done that just isn't needed and they charge excessive prices.
"My advice is don't deal with doorstep callers under any circumstances. If you do need work doing it is advisable to use a trader recommended by a friend or neighbour or a local trader who is a member of one of the national trade bodies. Always obtain a couple of written quotes and ask for a breakdown of what work will be undertaken and what materials will be used."
Anyone who has concerns can call Stockton Council's Trading Standards on (01642) 526560.