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Cold-calling conman from Bestwood avoids jail

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A Bestwood man has avoided jail despite swindling £291,000 out of customers for unnecessary housing repairs.

Gareth Bryan, 34, of Lytham Gardens, in Bestwood and Martin Jacks, 35, of Wellesley Crescent, Broxtowe were today sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court to a total of two years in jail – but suspended for two years.

Both admitted to three counts of fraudulent trading under companies called Premier Roof Coatings, Premier Wall and Drive Coatings and PRC Home Improvements.

Bryan also admitted to money laundering and concealing criminal property.

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The total value of the fraud involving these companies through their activities is estimated at around £1.18m.

The criminals ruthlessly targeted vulnerable people for unnecessary or shoddy building work. They often went door-to-door, claiming that they had been working on a neighbour’s property and had noticed an issue with the house, roof or driveway.

However as work was being carried out victims noticed that the men did not have the proper tools or materials to carry out tasks such as cementing repairs, did not use appropriate safety equipment and had caused damage to their property

Cllr Alice Grice, Community Safety Committee Vice-Chairman at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “This is another significant coup by the National Trading Standards Scambuster Team East Midlands which helps to protect vulnerable people in our communities from this sort of crime.

“Some of the victims’ accounts are quite harrowing and we are very pleased that we have been able to bring these men to justice and send another clear message that we will always investigate this sort of crime.

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“People should be very wary of buying anything on the doorstep, and should check the firm is reputable and if in doubt always say no.”

Wheelchair-bound couple Valerie Watson, 62, and Raymond Fairgrieve, 72, were among the victims targeted by Bryan and Jacks. The couple handed over £1,100 in cash after the men knocked on the door in summer 2014 to say they were working on a neighbour’s property, and could repaint the roof of their bungalow, remove the moss and mend loose tiles.

Following the completion of the works, Valerie and Raymond had the roof inspected by an independent expert who said that roof tiles had actually been loosened, the painting was not completed properly and there was still moss on the roof.

Valerie said: “We were furious but there was nothing we could do as they had demanded cash and we took them at their word they would do a good job.

“They clearly targeted elderly and vulnerable people and we would never trust anyone again. We are very pleased that the county council’s trading standards have been able to take court action against them. What they did to us was unforgiveable.”

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