5:06pm Wednesday 30th May 2012
By Freya Leng
TWO rogue traders have been jailed after pleading guilty to fraud offences.
William Birch, aged 58, of Upper Moor, near Pershore, was sentenced to a 15 months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud at Bristol Crown Court on Monday (28).
Fred Stevens, aged 63, of Shipton Road, in Milton-Under-Wychwood, near Chipping Norton, was also sentenced to 12 months in prison.
This was the result of an intensive three year joint investigation by Gloucestershire Police, Scambusters South West and local Trading Standards Officers.
The investigation targeted the criminal activities of a group of prolific rogue traders who preyed on isolated vulnerable people across a large area of the west of the country.
The men called at homes, stating that they worked for the local authority and misled people about the origin of raw materials, quality and price of tarmac work.
They dressed like local council workers and make the vehicles they used look like local authority vehicles.
Alan Evans, manager of the South West Scambuster Bristol-based team said: “I would like to thank all the law enforcement agencies involved in this very complex case.
“We will not tolerate these people preying on the vulnerable people within our communities. We will take the strongest action possible to bring these people to justice and strip them of all their assets they received from their criminal activities”.
Detective Constable Barbara Banning of Gloucestershire Police added: “This is another successful criminal case against those dishonestly obtaining large sums of money from vulnerable individuals following door to door “touting” of goods and services.
“The increasing numbers of these cases successfully brought to court should deter those individuals committing these offences from continuing their activities in the county.”
Allan Smith, aged 61, of Avon Crescent, in Brockworth, was ordered to pay a fine of £500 and £100 in costs after pleading guilty to fraud offences against the Department of Work and Pensions and Housing at an earlier hearing.
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