An unscrupulous roofer from Yorkshire who aggressively persuaded an elderly man into buying unnecessary roofing work has been sentenced to a nine-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation to his victim.

Lee Andrew Boswell, 39, who runs his own roofing business in Thorpe Willoughby, was also ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid community work.

Mr Boswell had pleaded guilty to three offences contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, during a hearing at York Crown Court last month.

He was charged following an investigation by North Yorkshire County Council trading standards officers.

In May 2010, Boswell cold-called a 78-year-old man living alone in Pickering and talked him into having new gable end caps fitted to his roof for £200. Boswell then falsely told the man that his ridge tiles needed to be replaced due to frost and snow damage.

A chartered surveyor who subsequently examined the roof stated that none of the work was necessary. Boswell also failed to provide the victim with a written notice of his right to cancel his agreement for any work to be done.

The roofer demanded a total of £6,000 for the work but refused to accept payment by cheque. As a result, the elderly man had to visit his bank on three separate occasions to obtain the cash.

After withdrawing £2,000 in cash the man went to make a second, separate withdrawal, but an alert member of staff at the bank recognised the strange account activity and contacted the police.

An officer then escorted the man to his home. However, Boswell was nowhere to be seen, though his details were then given to police.

Sentencing Boswell, His Honour Judge Ashurst said: "He clearly saw an opportunity to earn money at the victim&#146s premises and having done a little work he then saw an opportunity to fleece the victim of money he could ill afford. The court takes a dim view of aggressive trading practices, especially when carried out against the elderly and vulnerable and especially when there is pressure to pay in cash."

Confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act, together with a compensation order was imposed to recover the £2,000 paid to Boswell by the man with failure to pay resulting in imprisonment. Boswell was also ordered to pay £4,000 towards the County Council costs of bringing the case to court.

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, portfolio holder for Trading Standards said, "This case again demonstrates the determination of our officers to ensure that vulnerable residents of our county are protected. We will not tolerate this type of activity. It also shows how important it is for members of the public, including bank staff, to remain vigilant and alert trading standards or the police if they suspect someone is being targeted by such traders. It is particularly pleasing to see that the Proceeds of Crime Act is being used in this case to try to recover the money lost by the complainant."

Commenting on the case, a spokesman at DPR Roofing in Leeds said; “Unfortunately it is individuals such as this that give our industry, and the wider industries of other tradesmen, a bad reputation.

“We have taken various steps to ensure our customers can trust DPR as a reputable roofing contractor in Yorkshire by adhering to the TrustMark scheme. It is a quality mark which complies with various trade associations, local government trading standards teams, and independent scheme operators.

“I am pleased to say that DPR Roofing has been a TrustMark member for a number of years now and we are audited annually”.