A ROGUE trader has been hit with a court bill of over £7,000 following an investigation by Dudley Trading Standards.

Christopher Cole, aged 46, of Brownhills, Walsall, had previously pleaded guilty to two offences under the Fraud Act along with four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

The court heard how he carried out shoddy work and falsely claimed to be a FENSA registered installer.

Cole charged £3,000 to replace windows at the home of an elderly Coseley resident, who was in poor health.

His work was carried out so badly an expert surveyor described it as ‘wholly inadequate with no value whatsoever,’ with total replacement needed at a cost of nearly £5,000.

Gaps in the undersized windows let in wind and rain and a bay window structure was not supported, resulting in cracks to the wall on both sides.

Cole also presented a false certificate to the resident claiming he was a FENSA registered installer, needed for the replacement of replacement windows and doors, with a false registration number on it.

The court handed Cole a 14 month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered him to carry out 200 hours community service. He was also ordered to pay £4,830 compensation to the resident and £3,000 costs to Dudley Council, at Wolverhampton Crown Court on August 5.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: "This prosecution sends out a clear message that we will protect consumers from the activity of rogue traders who flout the law and carry out sub standard work. This kind of activity causes a huge amount of distress to the victims who have worked hard and saved to pay for improvements to their home and are then badly let down."