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GARDEN SCAM: Gardeners allegedly tried to fleece Bushey woman out of £6k, court hears

 Published on: 14th June 2022   |   By: Court Reporter   |   Category: Uncategorized

A team of gardeners tried to trick a woman in Bushey into paying £6,900 for work that should have only cost £357, plus VAT, a jury heard today.

Steven Aldridge, prosecutor of the case, which is being held at St Albans Crown Court, said that the beginning of 2018 the woman and her husband had a leaflet pushed through their door from Heritage Tree Services.

She called the company, and on August 6 was met by a man who came to her door. They agreed on a £2,000 estimate for the work, and it promptly started.

Going on, Mr Attridge said: “A short time later the same man told her there was a large amount of garden waste and the price would have to be increased. He told her the price was now £6,900.

“She offered a cheque, but he said he did not accept cheques and that his card machine was not working.”

The man suggested she go with one of his workers, called Joe, to the bank, a NatWest in Borehamwood, to get the money.

However, “Joe” was the defendant at this trial, Michael Flegg, 30, of Nuxley Road, Belvedere, Kent. It was said then that Flegg allegedly told the woman the bank would probably be nosy, encouraging her to tell them he was her nephew and she was helping him start a new business.

The jury was then told that Flegg remained outside whilst the woman was in the queue. When the woman asked to withdraw £7,000 though, the clerk grew suspicious and her to a private part of the bank, after which police were called and “Joe” was arrested.

Mr Attridge said of Flegg: “He said he had started a new job and did not know who he was working for. He said they were travellers and would get him.“

Flegg also said he had been collected from Billericay train station and been driven around in a flat bed, having been promised £60 for the labouring.

He told the police he did not know the amount of money the woman had been asked to transfer, and had he known, he would have advised her to call the police.

He has pled not guilty to the charge of conspiracy to defraud.

Mr Attridge added that an expert had valued the carried-out work as costing £357 with added VAT.

The trial continues.

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