A pair of crooks have been put behind bars after conning elderly residents in Cornwall out of tens of thousands of pounds.
William King and Gavin James Findle from Nottinghamshire have been jailed for a total of nine years after charging pensioners living in holiday parks extortionate rates to carry out unnecessary work to their homes.
Todd Berridge, of Lincolnshire, was also handed a 12 month suspended sentence and ordered to carry out 180 hours community service for his part in the scam, which targeted residents in St Austell, Newquay and Bugle.
Trading under the names Quality Park Homes and Modern Park Homes, the gang would quote excessive amounts for the work which was then carried out on the spot.
Police say the conmen, who primarily targeted people in Cornwall and Devon, took around £100,000 from their unsuspecting and trusting victims.
Detective Constable Angela Galasso, Exmouth CID, said: “Most of the victims were embarrassed by what had happened and thought that it was an isolated incident, therefore didn’t report it to police initially.
“When we carried out a joint investigation with the Scambusters Team, we realised this was a widespread issue.
“The effect this has had on the victims is immense. It is not just the cost of losing the money but also the cost of rectifying the work and the emotional upset.
“I’m pleased that we’ve found justice for the victims and hope that others feel confident in coming forward.”
The trio were charged with 18 offences, 16 of which were committed in Cornwall.
Police say a typical scenario involved the men offering to insulate the underneath of a chalet for around £200.
Once underneath the property, they claimed to have discovered rotting supports or beams which were in need of replacing. In some instances, they have identified “problems” with the roof.
They also offered to carry out block paving work, operating under the name of King’s Paving and once they had started the work, claimed further drainage work was required and quoted inflated prices for the work.
The trio insisted the victims paid them with cash in advance, and in some cases escorted their victims to the bank to withdraw the money.
Police are urging anyone who thinks they have been a victim of a similar offence to come forward.
DC Galasso said: “If anyone else is a victim to a similar offence, even if it feels like a minor incident, please report it to police so we can investigate it and link it to other similar offences in the area.”
The three men were sentenced at York Crown Court on Thursday January 30.
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.
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.
Todd Berridge, 20, of Marshland Drive, Holbeach, Spalding, was given 12 months’ detention, suspended for 24 months and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work. He had previously pleaded guilty to charges of aiding and abetting King and Findley.