Youth pleads guilty to ‘despicable’ fraud offences

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A DONCASTER youth has pleaded guilty to two fraud offences in Warwickshire.

The 17-year-old admitted committing the offences in January and February.

The first offence occurred at a house in Foxes Way, Warwick. The victim was in her garden when she was approached by the offender and two other males. They told her that her roof needed repairing and agreed a price.

The victim handed over £1,400 and agreed a date for the work to be done but the three males never returned.

The second incident occurred at a house in Leamington in February. The offender and two other males knocked on the victim’s door and told him his roof needed repairing.

They initially agreed a price of £30 but the offenders then asked to look into his loft. They said that more work needed doing and there would be a cost of £3,000 for materials that the victim handed over.

The offenders returned the next day quoting £27,000 but saying they could do it for £20,000. They asked the victim to go to the bank to get the money.

The cashier at the bank became suspicious and told the man to call the police.

The boy was arrested following a search of the area involving police dogs and police helicopter.

Appearing at Coventry Youth Court on Tuesday 10th April the youth pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation. He was bailed while pre-sentence reports are prepared.

Work is ongoing to identify the other offenders.

Detective Constable Rachel Priestly said: “These types of despicable criminals tend to target the most vulnerable members of the community. Rogue traders specifically target vulnerable and elderly people, who on occasions can be talked into accepting work on their properties. I would like to thank the victims for assisting us with our investigation, they helped ensure today’s conviction. We’re continuing our efforts to locate the other two offenders and I’d urge anyone with information to contact us. It is important that people are aware of rogue traders and that people with elderly or vulnerable friends and relatives speak to them about the dangers.”

Police are offering the following advice to help people avoid becoming a victim of a rogue trader:

  • Don’t be forced into making quick decisions on the doorstep.
  • Get several quotes from several local reputable companies who have a reputation to maintain, and if possible seek recommendations from family and friends.
  • Only deal with firms with genuine verifiable phone numbers and addresses – beware of companies that only use mobile phone numbers and accommodation addresses.
  • Anyone who signs a contract on the doorstep following a visit that was not arranged (unsolicited) by law has seven days in which to cancel it.
  • All cancellation rights must be provided in writing to the customer at the time the contract is agreed – usually on the doorstep. It is an offence not to do so.
  • If you don’t want to speak to a trader at your door, don’t open it to them – it can be hard to distinguish good traders from rogue traders so it might be easier to keep the door closed.
  • Do not allow uninvited callers into your home.
  • Refuse to be taken to the bank to withdraw money, no reputable workmen would force you to do this. If you feel intimidated, close the door and call the police.