A pair of rogue traders who exploited vulnerable homeowners have been sentenced following a joint investigation by Havering Council Trading Standards and the Essex Police Economic Crime Team.
Jack Frederick Horner (31) of Basildon and William Eastwood (31) of Wickford deliberately targeted elderly and vulnerable residents, charging them tens of thousands of pounds for poor-quality building work.
Havering Trading Standards launched an investigation into the pair’s activities in 2019 and Essex Police became involved when it emerged that they had conned local people out of large sums of money.
In some cases the fraudsters had conveyed their victims to their banks in order to make payments for work which a Trading Standards Assessor deemed to be worth nowhere near the amounts charged.
It was estimated that Horner and Eastwood had overcharged the victims by more than £60,000. One victim had even been targeted twice, losing thousands of pounds.
Both men were charged with four counts each of fraud by false representation, to which they subsequently pleaded guilty.
At Southend Crown Court on 20 March, Eastwood was sentenced to three years and two months in prison. Harbour received a 14-month suspended sentence, was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and will be subject to an electronic curfew.
Detective Sergeant Rachel Barrett from Essex Police Economic Crime Unit said: “This is a fantastic result and removing one rogue trader from the community and having stringent conditions placed on another has undoubtedly prevented further vulnerable people from people scammed.
“Fraudsters and con artists such as these manipulate and persuade victims into doing something and can target absolutely anyone.”
Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of Havering Council, said: “This is further evidence of the outstanding results our Trading Standards team continue to achieve, working closely with the Police.
“Our aim is keep our residents safe and informed. The Buy With Confidence scheme helps Havering residents find Trading Standards-approved traders and local businesses and hopefully, reduce the opportunities for criminals like this to target our elderly and vulnerable.”