By Haddenham Webteam - 28th January 2021 10:00am
Two family members have been jailed for a total of 5.5 years and forced to pay back a total of £178, 000 of ill-gotten gain to various households in Buckinghamshire and the surrounding area.
James Smith (28) and Timothy Draper Smith (52) were trading as James Gutters and Roofing Ltd between August 2017 and February 2019. Over this period the company cold-called at different premises, offering to clean their gutters. The owners of each property were deliberately targeted due to being elderly and vulnerable.
The victims included a Buckinghamshire couple who were pressured in to having work done to the tune of £2000, with professionals valuing the work at only £105.
The withdrawal of £2000 cash triggered an anti-fraud protocol which alerted the bank and then the police.
At the sentencing on Tuesday 20th January at Aylesbury Crown Court, His Honour Judge Sheridan thanked the Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards for the way they went about this investigation, saying: "I am quite certain that the victims will find themselves indebted to them and to the prosecution in this matter."
Fred Wilson, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services for Buckinghamshire Council said:
"Be wary of anyone cold calling and offering large discounts on work requiring a cash payment. In this case the cash withdrawal alerted the authorities and this helped in reclaiming the monies"
"We are in a time where many vulnerable residents are at home and isolated which sadly provides an opportunity for shameless individuals preying on them"
"I urge everyone to follow our team's advice on dealing with cold callers"
Trading Standards advises residents not to engage with cold callers either on the doorstep or on the phone. They say:
Never engage with someone or allow them access to your home unless you are able to verify their authenticity and who they are. As with all scams: Be sceptical, stay calm, and don't be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door.
To deter visits from cold callers, residents can display a no cold calling sticker by their front doors. To obtain a Stop Cold Calling Sticker Pack or to report an incident please contact Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
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