Jail for rogue trader who conned elderly Biggin Hill woman out of £6,000
PUBLISHED: 10:51 08 August 2016 | UPDATED: 10:51 08 August 2016
The fraudster convinced residents they needed dehumidifiers to deal with damp
A rogue trader who conned an elderly woman out of almost £6,000 has been jailed for nearly two years.
Lewis Brown, 29, from Westerham, was sentenced to a total of 20 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to seven charges of fraud at Croydon Crown Court on July 22.
Brown’s offences were brought to light when trading standards received a complaint from a Biggin Hill resident who had paid Brown a deposit of £800 for a new bathroom, which he failed to deliver.
An investigation was launched and found that Brown also charged the resident, an elderly lady, £5,000 for a dehumidifier that he said was needed because of damp in the attic.
Investigations by a surveyor revealed there was no damp and the dehumidifier was not necessary.
Enquiries with trading standards officers at the London Borough of Sutton identified a further incident in Sutton where an older male was charged more than £14,000 for the hire of dehumidifier for bogus damp issues in his loft.
Further cases were identified, resulting in a total of ten fraud charges being brought to court. Three remain on file.
One victim, who wants to remain anonymous, said: “I hope he’s learned his lesson and thinks about what he has done and the upset he has caused people.”
Kate Lymer, Bromley’s executive councillor for Public Protection and Safety, said: “This is a common scam which consumers must be warned about. Trading Standards have seen a number of cases over the past couple of years where vulnerable consumers have been tricked into paying so called refundable deposits for equipment.
“Any trader who suggests that a dehumidifier needs to be put in an attic is almost certainly a crook.”