PEOPLE in Redditch are being urged to avoid roofing conmen.

The warning, from Worcestershire County Council, comes after a building firm and its director were sentenced after carrying out unsafe and unnecessary building work on homes in the town.

BBS Improvements Ltd and sole director Barrie John Henry Birch were sentenced after a joint investigation by Worcestershire Trading Standards Service and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uncovered a string of health and safety and fraud offences.

Worcester Crown Court heard how Mr Birch, operating under BBS Improvements Ltd, based in Bromsgrove, was employed to carry out building work on a domestic property in Redditch in May 2017.

A complaint was made to Trading Standards who instructed an expert to examine the roof.

The expert confirmed that the work was wholly unnecessary and that the work done had no value whatsoever.

During the course of their investigations Trading Standards also uncovered a number of potential health and safety issues.

At the time the complaint was received, Mr Birch was also before the court for similar offences committed while trading as a sole trader under the name BBS Improvements.

The court heard how Mr Birch was employed to carry out minor roofing repair work on a domestic property in Bromsgrove in June 2016.

After inspecting the roof Mr Birch advised the homeowner that the whole roof required replacing.

A Trading Standards investigation found the work was totally unnecessary.

Mr Birch, of Cheslyn Hay, admitted an offence under the Fraud Act 2006 and an offence under the Consumer Protection from unfair Trading Regulations 2008 in relation to unnecessary work carried out at a property in Bromsgrove during June 2016.

The 46-year-old also pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

For the Trading Standards offences and the HSE offences, Mr Birch was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work and was disqualified from being a company director for five years.

He was ordered to pay compensation to the victims and to make a contribution to the prosecution costs.

The press coverage that followed generated a number of enquiries to Trading Standards from consumers who felt they may also have fallen victim to a similar fraudulent traders.

The Trading Standards team is now warning consumers to be on their guard for tradesman who are contracted to complete relatively minor work, such as repairing broken guttering or replacing damaged roof tiles, yet make fraudulent statements suggesting that additional and expensive work is needed.