Men who bullied Potters Bar pensioner into paying thousands for work that should have cost under £200 jailed
PUBLISHED: 16:47 30 April 2015 | UPDATED: 16:47 30 April 2015
A trio of conmen who bullied a Potters Bar pensioner into handing over thousands of pounds for work which should have cost less than £200 have been jailed.
The victim was targeted by the gang, who knocked on his door and told him they had seen a hole in his roof.
They said they could repair it for £10,000, and the pensioner, in his late 80s, agreed to pay £2,000 upfront.
He was later threatened as the trio demanded a further £5,000 for materials.
It was only when the men later said his whole roof would need replacing, costing a further £10,000, that he contacted police in February 2013.
After advice from a surveyor, officers found the work should have cost less than £200.
Tony Williams, 40, Alan Way, Slough, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
He was jailed for five years and three months.
Billysam Doe, 20, of Foxborough Close, Slough was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation. He was jailed for seven years.
And Dax Wharf, 24, of Laleham Road, Shepperton was found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and blackmail.
He was sentenced to eight years behind bars.
The men went on to commit a further seven crimes after conning the Potters Bar victim.
They struck in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey.
Picking on old people, they convinced victims to cough up thousands of pounds, and persuaded one man to change his will.
Victims were mostly aged over 70.
Det Sgt Jon Leak, from Operation Manhunt, said: “These men purposely targeted older people. Initially they would convince them that work needed to be done to their properties, but would pressurise the victim into giving them more money.
“When the victims said they couldn’t get hold of the cash they would offer to drive them to the bank and would wait outside until the victim had handed the money over.
“We know that some of these victims handed over the money just to get rid of the men.
“It wasn’t until we started looking into Williams’ finances that we saw that large cheques had been paid into his account, through which we were able to uncover further victims, some of who didn’t realise they had been conned.
“I am sure the victims and their families will be pleased with this result today, as are we.
“However it is a sad fact that criminals like these will be operating across the country day to day and I would use this as an opportunity to advise people never to agree to work offered at your doorstep.
“If you believe work does need doing then seek a second opinion and obtain at least three quotes before proceeding with having the work done.”