Rogue traders con £100,000 from vunerable pensioners


Two rogue traders who conned £100,000 out of vulnerable pensioners for unnecessary building work have been jailed.

Billy Smith, 39, (pictured) and his son Riley, 20, targeted elderly people before overcharging them for carrying out nonexistent roof repairs.

They received £50,000 from one vulnerable pensioner from Christchurch, Dorset, over a three year period after revisiting him several times for more cash.

The pair pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and obtaining property by deception after an elderly woman they conned contacted police.

Billy was sentenced to 45 months in prison at Reading Crown Court for seven counts of fraud whilst Riley was handed a nine month suspended sentence for two counts.

Speaking after the hearing Detective Constable John Braddy, who lead the investigation, described their crimes as ”despicable”.

He said: ”This is a despicable series of crimes in which Billy and Riley Smith actively preyed upon elderly and vulnerable people.

”Even after requests by victims to be left alone, they returned repeatedly and stripped them of all their assets.

”Without the hard work of the Thames Valley Police Priority Crime Unit in Bracknell, and Trading Standards Regional Fraud Unit, these individuals would have continued with the ruthless exploitation of their unfortunate victims.”

Billy, from Iver, Bucks., and Riley, from Leatherhead, Surrey, began their rogue trading in 2005 by approaching elderly homeowners.

They tricked an elderly woman in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, into making payments of £16,000 for unnecessary repairs to her roof between 2006 and 2009.

During the same period they persuaded an elderly man in Christchurch, Dorset, to pay up to £50,000 for work on the roof of his home.

Between September 2005 and June 2009 the Smiths repeatedly visited the home of an elderly woman in Hillingdon, Middlesex, and made off with £7,000.

They were brought to justice in August last year when police were notified that an elderly woman from Bracknell, Berks., had paid £22,000 to Billy.

Officers waited at her home and arrested Billy and Riley on suspicion of fraud by false representation before investigations revealed the other offences.

John Peerless, spokesman for Trading Standards Regional Fraud Unit, warned Rouge traders conhomeowners against becoming victims of fraud.

He said: ”Organised criminal gangs such as these target vulnerable homeowners, particularly elderly members of the community.

”The message from Trading Standards is very clear – never ever deal with cold calling home maintenance traders.

”If they knock on your door you must ask them to leave and never give them any work to do.”



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