The directors of a rogue removal company that scammed customers into paying thousands of pounds to recover their belongings have been jailed following an investigation and prosecution by Islington Council Trading Standards.
Alexander Robert Linley-Sharman and Jacob David Littlestone, directors of My Move Group Ltd, vastly inflated the agreed-upon price of removals once clients’ belongings had been stowed in their removal van. One customer was initially quoted £200 and then had to pay £2,000 to get their belongings back. Another was forced to pay £6,000 after being given an initial quote of £300.
If the customers objected to paying more than the agreed price, they were told that their belongings would be put into storage and that they would be charged an additional £500 per night until payment was received. Some customers were also forced to pay for fake parking tickets and ‘bus lane contraventions’.
The pair also falsely claimed the company had been endorsed by Costco and the British Heart Foundation in an attempt to boost customer confidence and increase the credibility of their business.
The company came to the attention of Islington Trading Standards after a flurry of complaints about their dishonest behaviour.
Linley-Sharman and Littlestone both pleaded guilty to eight counts of unfair commercial trading practices at Snaresbrook Crown Court in August 2022 and were each sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on 26 September 2023.
Linley-Sharman received an extra year in prison for perverting the course of justice after he failed to appear for trial in person. Linley-Sharman had claimed to have COVID-19 and submitted an NHS self-isolation letter which was later proved to be fake.
Councillor John Woolf, Islington Council Executive Member for Community Safety, said: “Our community must be able to trust Islington’s brilliant small businesses which keep our local economy thriving. Any business owners who undermine that public trust by acting dishonestly or criminally should be warned that we will take robust action. Thanks to the tenacity of our Trading Standards and Legal Services teams, these culprits have been brought to justice.”