ENERGY supplier Scottish & Southern Energy has been fined £1.25 million for using doorstep sellers to "trick" people into switching supplier, according to a local authority.

The firm was brought to court by Trading Standards officers from Surrey County Council (SCC) after it found the company's sellers were using misleading sales scripts.

It is understood the fine is the largest to have been handed out in a trading standards prosecution.

The firm was found guilty at Guildford Crown Court of taking part in misleading selling practices relating to a sales script, between September 2008 and July 2009 and was found not guilty on five similar matters, according to SCC.

A council spokesman said: "The punishment marks the end of a landmark prosecution by Surrey County Council Trading Standards that was the first of its kind against one of the 'big six' energy firms.

"Trading Standards officers doggedly pursued the energy giant after discovering its sales agents were using misleading sales scripts on people's doorsteps.

"The sellers claimed to have information showing households were paying too much with their current supplier. In reality they had no such information."

Steve Playle, SCC Trading Standards investigations and enforcement manager, said: "This was a real David versus Goliath battle which resulted in a victory for consumers."