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Crime: Kent fraudster who targeted elderly householders by using a dead squirrel is jailed

Contributed by editor on Oct 11, 2017 - 04:15 PM

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A Tunbridge Wells fraudster who used a dead squirrel to trick residents into having unnecessary roof repairs has been jailed.

 

Rogue trader George Johnston scammed unsuspecting residents into thinking they had pest infestations in their homes.

Doorstep scam

Victims reported Johnston, formerly of Sandhurst Road, Tunbridge Wells, would sometimes produce a dead squirrel as evidence of the problem before demanding cash to clear the infestation and make repairs to properties.

 


The 34-year-old was arrested on 24 May 2017 after Kent Police had received a number of reports about suspicious activity in the Tunbridge Wells area.

Offences were reported between 19 February and 20 May 2017, in areas including Sandhurst Road and Ferndale.

Guilty pleas

Johnston appeared before Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court on 10 October, where he pleaded guilty to four offences of fraud by false representation.

He was sentenced to 360 days in prison and also ordered to pay compensation of £2,330 to the victims.

Vulnerable targeted

Police Constable Katie Saunders said: ‘Johnston targeted the elderly and vulnerable and then tricked his victims into paying for work they didn’t need. While he is now behind bars, communities will be protected from his scams and he should consider the impact these crimes have had on the people who thought he was an honest tradesman.

'I would like to thanks the victims who helped Kent Police throughout the investigation and court process.’

Advice

To try and minimise your risk of employing a doorstep criminal:

- Do not deal with doorstep callers offering work on your home or garden and never pay in cash.
- Check that the tradesperson is from the company they say they are from
- Ask for quotes in writing
- Ring more than three traders to get a feel for an average price for the job

Remember traders must give you written notice of your right to 14 days cancellation when agreeing to do work at your home, including work gained from a cold call

 


If you believe a doorstep crime is happening or about to happen call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency

Useful Contacts

For advice and information, members of the public should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506, or visit the www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Kent County Council Trading Standards recommends www.checkatrade.com  online or call 0333 0146 190, for reputable Kent traders
 

 

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