Probe Launched after West Yorkshire Solar Energy Firm Shuts

West Yorkshire Trading Standards is investigating after a solar energy firm shut its offices leaving more than a dozen customers out of pocket.

A number of homeowners from across the region, including Leeds, told West Yorkshire Trading Standards they were cold-called by Bradford-based Yorkshire Solar Panels Ltd (YSPL) between January and March this year.

They all said salesmen offered to install solar panelling at their home.

All 14 of the customers told West Yorkshire Trading Standards they had paid YSPL a deposit or settled their bill in full, but - as yet - no work had started at their homes.

Amounts paid ranged from £750 to thousands of pounds.

Now none of the customers are able to get through to YSPL or the company boss Lee Patterson, 32.

The Yorkshire Evening Post called YSPL but the number had been disconnected and the company website closed.

Mr Patterson did not answer his mobile phone to the Yorkshire Evening Post or return voice messages left on his phone.

David Strover, a principal of officer at West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said Mr Patterson appeared to have done a “midnight flit”.

He said: “Yorkshire Solar Panels Ltd set up in January at 93 Manningham Lane in Bradford.

“The company is still listed as ‘active’ on Companies House, but its offices shut last month.

“It appears that some work was done from the offices, and some work at people’s homes, after they were cold-called over the phone.

“Three or four months later Lee Patterson appears to have done a midnight flit, leaving without a trace.

“The landlord of the business premises says he has not been paid rent, and around 14 consumers say they have paid deposits on jobs that have not been completed.

“Our investigation is ongoing.”

A 48-year-old from Kippax, who did not want to be named, said he had effectively purchased a glossy company brochure for £1,500, which is all he received after paying that amount to YSPL.

He refused to spend £20,000 to instal solar panelling but when a salesman told him he could rent equipment for one £1,500 fee, he accepted. His cheque was cashed on January 23.

A 51-year-old from Alwoodley, who also did not want to be named, told the Yorkshire Evening Post he paid YSPL £750 in January for a similar ‘rent my roof space’ scheme. He said: “We thought the worst that could happen is we lose £750, and we have.”

By Sophie Hazan for the Yorkshire Evening Post

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