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Two ‘ruthlessly cynical’ rogue traders sentenced to total of five years in prison for fraud

PUBLISHED: 15:50 20 July 2017

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Both were also ordered to repay their victims

Two ‘ruthlessly cynical’ rogue tree surgeons were sentenced to a total of five years in prison at Croydon Crown Court having pleaded guilty to offences of fraud by false representation.

James Cunningham from Gateshead Tyne and Wear, and Peter Varey from Essex obtained work in Bromley having distributed flyers in the area, advertising tree care and garden works.

These flyers displayed false addresses and the phone numbers listed were all unregistered.

All of the victims were elderly women who lived alone, and offences took place between June and September 2015.

In each case the men quoted a price, and then once they had completed the work, claimed the price had risen, usually to thousands of pounds.

After each incident, Trading Standards was contacted. They began a full unvestigation and BBC Watchdof carried out a sting operation which featured Varey and Cunningham.

Police arrested both men and they were later identified by victims.

A third suspect was also identified but he remains at large.

Kate Lymer, executive councillor for public protection and safety, said: “This is a stark reminder to us all and our advice is to carefully check the credentials of any trader you are about to agree with.

“Do bring this case to the attention of older relatives as our experience shows they are particularly at risk. These commuting rogue traders were ruthlessly cynical and deliberately set out to take as much money as they could from their victims. Potential offenders are never beyond the law.”

Cunningham was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years on account his wife had recently died and he has dependents.

He has to attend a Thinking First Programme and 30 days rehabilitation.

Varey was sent to prison for three years. Both were ordered to repay their victims.

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