A FRAUDSTER saleswoman tried to rip off an elderly, vulnerable Halesowen couple by selling them rubbish roof paint at an extortionate price, a court heard.

The couple aged 84 and 85 were conned into believing the paint would massively reduce heat loss at their Woodbury Road home, but the claim was a sham.

Julie Barrett, aged 50, from Bromsgrove, was working as a sales representative in the scam, which last month saw her two bosses jailed.

Barrett, now unemployed and living on benefits, of Hewell Avenue, denied one charge of fraud but was convicted by a jury.

She was put on supervision for 18 months and ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid community work.

Judge Martin Walsh told Wolverhampton Crown Court, it was clear she had been dishonest and it had been her aim to make false claims about the the roof paint to John and Elsie Parkes.

He said Barrett, a woman of previous good character, had been behind a single transaction but it was mean offending bearing in mind the age and vulnerability of her victims.

“You were involved in selling this product and you made false representations to achieve a sale for commission,” he said.

After the case, Christopher King, Dudley’s principal trading standards officer said the prosecution showed that sales staff going from door to door were equally as guilty as the directors.

He said he hoped sentencing in the case which involved more than 2,700 victims nationwide would send out the message that rogue trading would be punished severely.

The two men behind the scam - Alan Wilson, aged 54, of Fazeley Road, Tamworth, and Christopher Wilkes, aged 45, of Tamworth Lane, Solihull - were both jailed for five years each at an earlier hearing.

The court had been told they made grossly exaggerated claims for a product they knew “had little to commend it” and their sales staff had preyed on the fears of customers.

The two companies run by Wilson and Wilkes, Therma Seal UK Ltd and Therma Seal (Thermal Coatings Ltd), had a turnover of £8.5 million.