A ROGUE trader has been ordered to pay back more than £16,000 after overcharging vulnerable, elderly women for roof repair work across Hampshire.

Mark Kempster, of no fixed abode, approached women in Southampton, Alresford, Andover and Gosport between January 2013 and November 2015 about roof work that was often not required.

Winchester Crown Court also heard he overcharged the victims for work that was, in some cases, never completed.

He had previously pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud by false representation and was jailed for a total of four years in March 2016.

After Kempster was convicted in 2016, officers from Hampshire Constabulary’s Financial Investigation Unit undertook work under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to see if they could recover some of the money paid to Kempster in these fraudulent transactions.

Kempster has now been made subject of a confiscation order. The money received will be returned to the women he conned:

l £13,662 to the victim of the Southampton fraud, a woman in her 60s;

l £1,860 to the victim of the Alresford fraud, a woman in her 80s;

l £1,170 to the victim of the Gosport fraud, a woman in her 80s.

The victim of the Andover fraud, a woman in her 90s, did not have any money taken.

Kempster had 28 days, from April 21, to pay or he will serve a default sentence of 18 months in prison. The debt would still be outstanding.

Det Insp Lee Macarthur said: “Kempster preyed on older and vulnerable women, taking substantial amounts of money from them. Thankfully, the victims, who were vastly overcharged, will now get their money back.

“These orders were secured using the Proceeds of Crime Act. The legislation has been used to claw back money from a man who remorselessly targeted people for his own financial gain.”

Work to protect vulnerable residents and disrupt the activities of doorstep criminals is led by Operation Liberal. This national initiative links crimes and gathers intelligence on suspects and organised crime groups who travel extensively throughout the UK.

Hampshire police’s key advice to members of the public is: if you’re not sure, don’t open the door. Information can be submitted privately to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.