DOZENS of people in South Yorkshire have lost £500 in a suspected scam after a solar panel firm boss disappeared.
Jacqueline and Melvyn Beeley signed up with Fair Deal Energy in May. But when fitters failed to turn up this week they discovered a disturbing picture.
Derby Trading Standards say boss Peter Brookman, aged 53, of Ilkeston, has disappeared, believed to be abroad.
A spokeswoman said they were keen to speak to him after receiving more than 140 complaints from people across the country.
Jacqueline said they had signed up to a ‘rent-a-roof’ scheme with the firm at a stall in Crystal Peaks shopping centre in May.
The couple believed once the panels were fitted to their terraced home at Halfway Gardens, Halfway, they would receive free electricity from 8am to 7pm.
Fair Deal would make money by selling surplus power back to the grid, the couple were told.
Their £500 paid for a survey and some of the installation costs, but the firm would retain ownership of the panels for 25 years.
Jacqueline said: “We live on a pension and welcomed the idea of having free electricity, but now we appear to have lost £500. It’s a crying shame.”
Coun Matthew Holmes, of Derby Council, said: “It’s very important to get three quotes and contact previous customers.”
Call Trading Standards about Fair Deal Energy on 01332 641333.