THREE men from Blackpool have today (Thursday 18 July) been jailed for a total of six years four months for conning elderly victims out of thousands of pounds.
30-year-old Shane Boswell of Whalley Lane, Blackpool; 26-year-old Gary Sheridan of Lytham Road, Blackpool and 31-year-old Charles Speirs of Sutherland Road, Blackpool were each convicted at an earlier hearing at Preston Crown Court.
In March this year, a member of staff from the Halifax bank on Church Street, Blackpool alerted police after noticing that an elderly customer was visiting the bank and withdrawing large amounts of money to pay for minor building work.
Blackpool South Neighbourhood policing team gathered information and arrested Boswell and Sheridan at one of the victim’s houses.
In court, Boswell admitted charges of fraud by false representation relating to the March offence and also a previous offence in 2011, where he, along with Speirs, defrauded the victim out of around £100,000 for minor building work. For both offences, he received a four year sentence.
Sheridan admitted fraud by false representation relating to the offence committed in March this year which defrauded the victim out of around £10,000. He received a 12 month prison sentence. Speirs was convicted of fraud by false representation and was given a 16 month prison sentence.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable Kate Buckingham said: “We hope that the sentence given today helps the victims feel reassured and confident that these men have been brought to justice.
“I would like to thank the member of staff at the Halifax for being so vigilant. His quick thinking helped us to quickly catch the offenders earlier this year.
“In that particular case, we were fortunately able to apprehend Boswell and Sheridan after carrying out five days of work. We were subsequently able to intervene before the offenders could acquire any more money from the victim.
“I would encourage everybody to be vigilant when it comes to elderly people in their area that may be easy targets for rogue traders.
“Always ask for identification when dealing with any workman who comes to your home, if they are genuine they won’t mind you asking. Also, you should always try and get a few quotes for any building work so you can get an idea of an acceptable rate to pay.”
If you want to report a rogue trader contact Lancashire Constabulary on 101 or you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Alternatively you can call Blackpool Council on 01253 477477and ask to be transferred to Trading Standards or contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506.