Roofers fixed a pensioner’s house free of charge after he was charged £17,000 by “rogue traders”.

The vulnerable 77-year-old was cold-called by men last week claiming the roof of his home in Wayfield Avenue, Hove, home needed to be fixed. After the pensioner handed them a £5,000 cheque, the men began work in his attic. But neighbour Carole Todd soon intervened and found the traders had written themselves a cheque for another £12,000.

“I knew something wasn’t right, that seemed far too much,” she said

“So I took it away. They had been going around his house but I knew he was vulnerable so I’d checked up on him.

“I was so upset when I saw the damage.” Ms Todd found the traders had damaged the man’s roof, leaving his house open to the rain. But Matt Lewery of Royal Roofing Contractors offered to fix the damage for nothing.

“We took a look at the damage and we knew it would take a day’s work to put it right,” he said. “We had to retile a whole section of the roof because it had been so badly damaged.

“Luckily we’ve got the resources to supply the materials and we got the guys down for a day. “We wanted to do something good considering everything that’s going on with the coronavirus.

“Remember to only hire traders recommended by family or friends.” Brighton and Hove Trading Standards is now investigating the case. A spokesman praised Ms Todd for intervening.

“We can confirm that unfortunately there are scams taking place during this time of great national crisis,” he said.

“We have been in contact and are supporting the person who was targeted by these rogue traders, and would like to thank and praise the neighbour whose help was extremely important. We are pleased The Argus is highlighting these scams. “We urge neighbours and families to ensure the elderly and vulnerable understand how to stay safe and protected.

“This is especially important at this time as there are going to be a higher number of this section of our community isolating at home and likely to be living alone.”