Two fraudsters have been jailed after scamming an elderly couple from Chalfont St Peter.
James Smith, 28, and Timothy Draper Smith, 52, were trading as James Gutters and Roofing Ltd between August 2017 and February 2019.
Over this period the company cold-called at five different premises, offering to clean their gutters. The owners of each property were deliberately targeted due to being elderly and vulnerable.
Once at the properties, the duo would use a series of unlawful and coercive sales techniques to convince the vulnerable householders to agree to have works carried out.
These included causing a need for repair works to be carried out, and starting work before an agreement had been reached, in order to create a sense of obligation to have the works carried out. They would then dramatically overcharge for the works.
The total value of the fraud they committed was valued at £178,000, which has been paid back to the victims as compensation.
Smith received a sentence of 36 months, whilst Draper-Smith received 31 months.
At the sentencing on Tuesday, January 20 His Honour Judge Sheridan thanked the Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards for the way they went about this investigation and said: “I am quite certain that the victims will find themselves indebted to them and to the prosecution in this matter.”
Denise Turner Stewart, cabinet member for communities, said: “To deliberately target vulnerable residents in this way and scam them out of thousands of pounds is despicable and totally unacceptable.
“We are pleased both Mr Smith and Mr Draper-Smith have got the punishment they deserve, and we are very grateful to our Trading Standards officers for their extremely thorough work on this investigation.
“The work being undertaken to stop these bogus traders is a serious priority for the county council and we are determined to bring these perpetrators to justice. People like this need to be stopped and the best way we can do this is by educating ourselves and our loved ones on how to avoid becoming a victim.”