Fraudster’s company scams residents of £1.5m

A businessman, through his company, swindled residents out of £1.5m by falsely promising energy savings and home security through their products and services.

The court heard how between 2014 and 2015, Robin MacDonald conducted a widespread campaign of fraud and mis-selling through his businesses, Sunpower Renewables Ltd and Stirling Technologies Ltd, trading as Proshield Alarms.

Sunpower Renewables sold products such as solar panels and air source heat pumps, falsely claiming financial benefits through energy savings, government-funded works, and compensation from selling surplus energy back to the grid, as per Nottinghamshire County Council.

MacDonald’s firm assured householders that fitting solar panels and heat pumps would lead to savings, with the work supposedly funded by the government. However, the systems were often poorly installed and failed to deliver the promised savings.

At Nottingham Crown Court, MacDonald was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, along with charges of fraudulent trading.

This conviction followed an investigation led by the National Trading Standards Regional Investigations Team in the East Midlands. Over 200 victims provided evidence during the trial.

According to the council, representatives from Sunpower Renewables resorted to aggressive tactics, frequently staying in residents’ homes for extended periods to coerce them into signing contracts for unnecessary and overpriced work.

Some installations, such as solar panels, were placed on roofs incapable of supporting their weight, posing structural risks. Despite numerous complaints, Sunpower Renewables neglected to address these issues.

Furthermore, Proshield Alarms misled customers in their marketing by falsely implying that their home security products were linked to an emergency service alert system, reassuring customers with claims of being “in safe hands 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Scott Carlton, cabinet member for public health and communities at the council, said: “In this case, the defendant and his businesses deliberately targeted the elderly and those living in vulnerable situations, using dishonest and coercive sales tactics and lies about the quality of their products and the benefit they would bring to their victims.

“I would like to thank all the victims who came forward and worked with our investigators to help bring this case to trial.”

MacDonald is scheduled for sentencing in March.

Roy Hancher, aged 54, admitted to fraudulent trading, while Nicola Mather, aged 44, pleaded guilty to money laundering before the trial.