Two rogue traders have begun jail sentences totalling nine years for conning 48 elderly victims across the country out of thousands of pounds - including two in Chesterfield.
The men, from Newark, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and conspiracy to defraud at York Crown Court on Thursday, January 30, after being involved in sub-standard work.
A third man was given a suspended sentence and ordered to carry out unpaid work.
The court heard how the offences were in connection with 48 incidents across the country where they mostly targeted elderly people living in park mobile home sites claiming that work needed doing to their property.
In Derbyshire, the incidents were reported in March 2013. A 70-year-old woman living at Sunningdale Park, New Tupton, was visited by the men who said they were carrying out insulation work to the properties.
She paid them £250 to insulate her flooring and later discovered the work had not been carried out, according to the court.
On Popular Drive, New Tupton, the men called at a woman’s home and offered to do the sofits and facias, which they agreed for a price of £75. The court heard they began the work but later claimed that more repairs were needed than they first thought but said they could do the work for £6,000.
A few days later the men claimed they needed a further £200 but the woman and her brother, refused to pay for further repairs, according to the court, and the men left.
The court head how other offences took place in Devon, Cornwall, Warrington, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Mansfield, Newark and Ripon, where they were arrested by North Yorkshire Police after a resident became suspicious about the men’s claims and quality of work. In total, the trio took around £100,000 from the victims.
William King, 35, of Sandhill Sconce, Tonley Lane, Newark, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment; three years for these incidents and three years for separate offences committed in Surrey and Kent.
Gavin James Findley, 30, of Elizabeth Road, Newark, was given a three year prison sentence.
Todd Berridge, 20, now of Marshland Drive, Holbeach, Spalding, Lincolnshire - previously of Tonley Lane, Newark - pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting Mr King and Mr Findley and was given a 12 month detention order in a young offenders’ institute, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work.
North Yorkshire Police led the nationwide investigation with assistance from other police forces and trading standards officers and South West Scambusters Team.
Inspector Glenn Hoggard, who is in charge of policing in the North East Derbyshire area, said: “These were despicable crimes where the men targeted older and more vulnerable residents throughout the country, including some in the New Tupton area. We will always look to take positive action whenever possible against offenders and we are pleased that these men have been brought to justice.
“It also shows just how important it is that residents come forward and report any suspicious activity. We would also urge anyone who is approached by cold callers not to buy or agree to have work carried out by them.”
Insp Hoggard added: “Firstly, if you are not sure who is at the door, don’t open it. If you do, make sure you use a door chain or bar and never be taken in or pressurised to hand over cash or sign any contracts on the doorstep.
“If you think you might need work doing then always use recommended tradesmen, and ask around for a few estimates before making up your mind.”
Derbyshire Trading Standards Service can help residents find honest and reliable traders through the Trusted Trader scheme.
All the businesses who sign up to Derbyshire Trusted Trader have been checked by the trading standards team. To find a Trusted Trader in your area call 01629 533190 or visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/trustedtrader.