The Serious Fraud Office has charged five men connected to a rooftop solar installation company that defrauded people out of an estimated £13 million with conspiracy to commit fraud.

Five men – three of whom were directors of Manchester-based Solar Energy Savings Limited – have been charged following a Serious Fraud Office investigation into Solar Energy Savings, PV Solar Direct and Ultra Energy Global.

The 27-month investigation found that Solar Energy Savings was selling solar panels to customers under what was termed a ‘360 Returns Scheme’ that promised the return of sums spent to purchase installations on maturity.

The two other companies were then used to generate further sales.

The SFO anticipated that “many victims” had been created by the fraud, the majority of which were older people, with total losses estimated at more than £13 million.

Solar Energy Savings Limited was ordered to close in July 2012 after it was found by the High Court to have missold systems to customers using “high pressure tactics” and illegal sales practices.

The individuals – Stephen Wilson, Gary McVey, Robert Ross, Niall Hastie and Kenneth Reid – attended police stations yesterday, were charged and subsequently bailed to appear at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 25 April 2017.

Two other men, Ludovic Black and David Diaz, are still being sought by the SFO after they failed to attend police stations earlier this year and those with information as to their current whereabouts are being encouraged to contact the SFO on either 0207 084 4806 or [email protected]