ELDERLY county residents were deceived into having unnecessary and expensive roof cleaning work costing thousands of pounds, a court was told.

Ciara Wortley preyed on pensioners in Herefordshire by cold calling them from a ‘suckers list’ - a cold calling database targeting vulnerable people.

In a case brought by Herefordshire Council trading standards, Worcester Crown Court heard her victims were tricked into believing a surveyor needed to visit to carry out a free inspection of their insulation.

Wortley sent unqualified salesmen, who worked on commission only, to “coerce” the vulnerable home owners into having moss jet washed off their roofs and a water proof liquid sprayed onto the tiles – known as a “roof coating scam”.

A trading standards spokesperson said a Ledbury victim was charged £3,000 for this “wholly unnecessary and worthless work”, while a Bromyard home owner was conned into a contract for roof coating and having his walls sprayed with a water proof coating, totalling £5,500.

Wortley of Lyndale Close, Lymington, admitted six unfair trading charges, including two offences relating to a another couple from Reading, also in their 80s.

She was given a 12 months suspended jail term, and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.

She must also pay £3000 compensation and £300 costs.

The salesman Darren Smith, 37, from Seymour Road, Southampton, admitted three unfair trading charges, and was given 140 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation and £1,000 costs.