A Kirkby man is amongst a gang of rogue builders who have been jailed for a total of eighteen years for scamming millions out of pensioners.
28-year-old Christopher Russell, of Rowan Drive, is one of six men who preyed on elderly and vulnerable people and pressured them into paying for shoddy and unnecessary work on their homes.
Nottingham Crown Court heard how Russell, alongside Tuxford residents Tyrone St John Beard (46), Marcus Reading (27), Simon Davies (24), Michael Sean Sumner (28), and Mohammed Zulbair Ditta (42), from Bradford. pleaded guilty to the scams and were convicted on Friday.
The group ruthlessly charged pensioners extortionate prices for roof and driveway work that was sometimes not even completed. They used a variety of company names including Tileshield Coatings Ltd and Nationwide Roof Coatings Ltd to carry out the scam.
The National Trading Standards East Midlands Scambusters investigated the case for two years and gathered evidence from a hundred victims from across the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire, but have said that there are many more victims involved.
Russell was jailed for 18 months for his involvement in the operation, whilst other gang members were jailed for between three and six-and-a-half years.
Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s community safety committee, said that this is one of the biggest cases the council has ever dealt with and the local authorities take this type of scam very seriously.
He added: “A lot of the work that this heartless group carried out was at best shoddy and at worst non-existent, leaving their victims out of pocket and in many cases very upset and distressed, which will have impacted on their health.”
A Nottinghamshire resident, who used the company to clean and protect her roof, researched the company before using them and thought it seemed very reputable.
She said: “We were very wrong... these were real cowboys and they clearly targeted the old and vulnerable. They are utterly despicable.”
Russell was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday. Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, is urging people to think twice before agreeing to have work done from doorstep salesmen.
If you suspect such activity in your neighbourhood, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.