Two conmen, who swindled 48 elderly victims out of tens of thousands of pounds, have been jailed for a total of nine years.
The gang targeted elderly people living in mobile home sites, including in the Forest of Dean, claiming work needed doing on their property.
Trading under the name of Quality Park Homes and Modern Park Homes the men quoted excessive amounts for work, which was carried out on the spot.
The pair, with the help of a third accomplice, conned nearly 50 unsuspecting and trusting victims, including some from Coleford out of around £100,000.
The trio from Newark, Nottinghamshire, operated across the country and were arrested in Ripon by North Yorkshire Police after a resident became suspicious about the men’s claims and quality of work.
Yesterday at York Crown Court, William King, 35, of Sandhill Sconce, Tolney Lane, Newark was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment having previously pleaded guilty to charges of fraud by false representation and conspiracy to defraud.
King was given three years for the con and three years for separate offences committed in Surrey and Kent but were delayed for sentence.
Gavin James Findley, 30, of Elizabeth Road, Newark was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment after previously pleading guilty to charges of fraud by false representation and conspiracy to defraud.
20-year-old Todd Berridge now of Marshland Drive, Holbeach, Spalding, Lincolnshire, but previously of Tonley Lane, Newark, was given 12 months’ detention, suspended for 24 months and ordered to carried out 180 hours of unpaid work. He had previously pleaded guilty to charges of aiding and abetting King and Findley.
His Honour Judge Shaun Spencer commended the officers who dealt with the case for their professionalism, tenacity and resilience in bringing the case to court.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Lesley Raffan of Harrogate CID, said: “These men targeted vulnerable, elderly people and took advantage of their trusting nature. They acted with impunity across the country often targeting several people in one neighbourhood.
“Thanks to the vigilance of a Ripon resident who did exactly the right thing by calling the police, the men were caught and brought to justice. They deserve every minute of their jail sentence which gives them ample time to reflect on their despicable crimes.
“Our advice to anyone who is approached by cold callers is simply do not buy anything from them. They may appear charming and will try to talk you into agreeing to the work, but please do not be taken in by them.
“If you need some work doing, always use recommended tradesmen. Speak to trusted friends, neighbours or family and ask them to help you select a company.”
The trio offered insulate the underneath of a chalet for around £200, but once underneath claimed to have discovered rotting supports or beams which were in need of replacing.
In other frauds they claimed to have identified problems with the roof.
They also offered block paving work, operating under the name of King’s Paving and once started claimed further drainage work was required and quoted inflated prices for it.
The suspects insisted that the victims pay them with cash in advance, and have in some cases escorted their victims to the bank to withdraw the money.
After being paid, the suspects have either not completed the repair work - which was not needed in the first place - or not done the work at all. In some cases they have actually caused damage and then not repaired it.