A CROOKED roofer who tried to con a Halesowen pensioner out of £4,800 for unnecessary work on her home has avoided a spell behind bars.

"The public take a dim view of people like you who go around telling elderly people they need a new roof when they don't," Judge Simon Ward told Billy Rogers.

He said the 55 year old - a man of previous good character - had clearly taken advantage of the woman but he ruled she had not been deliberately targeted.

"If I send you to prison your son will suffer and you would not be able to pay compensation to your victim who took two years to get over the emotional damage you caused," added the Judge.

Rogers made a cold-call at the home of the 76 year old woman while looking for work and delivering leaflets advertising his business, said Mr Mark Jackson prosecuting.

The woman told him the felt the gables on her Halesowen home may have needed attention and Rogers gave her a £400 quote for the work.

But he returned the next morning with three other men and shortly afterwards showed her a piece of spongy wood the prosecution suggested he could have taken with him and then claimed she needed a new roof costing £4,800.

She was shocked but she trusted what she had been told, said Mr Jackson with Rogers saying he wanted to start the job quickly so she would not have time to get any other quotes for the job.

But when the woman's daughter learned what had happened she informed the police and trading standards who wasted no time ordering the men to leave the scene.

Mr Jackson said Rogers knew the roof did not need replacing and some of the work that had been completed had to be removed and started again.

"Unnecessary work was carried out incompetently," he stressed.

Rogers of Hill Street, Esssington, near Wolverhampton admitted fraud by false representation and trading irregularities and he was given a two year community order.

He was further told he must carry out 170 hours unpaid work, ordered to obey a three month curfew and to pay £2,600 compensation for his criminality.

Mr Adrian Harris, defending, maintained to Wolverhampton Crown Court there was a legitimate need for some work to be carried out on the roof but agreed it had been exaggerated.

The pensioner, the Judge was told, had since had to pay £7,799 to have her roof properly replaced by a firm of standing in the community.