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A Successful Prosecution For Fraud

A Bournemouth man has been successfully prosecuted for fraud by Borough of Poole Trading Standards.

30 year old Danny Sherwood, of Wimborne Road in Kinson, was found guilty of 7 of the 11 counts of fraud at Bournemouth Crown Court on 11 April 2014.

The offences related to work undertaken by Mr Sherwood on the home of a vulnerable 73 year old local woman. Mr Sherwood was found guilty of three charges of fraud together with further charges associated with the unnecessary removal of a chimney, overcharging £1,170 for work undertaken, providing a false address on a business document and also aggressive practices as Mr Sherwood accompanied the victim to a cash point where she was encouraged to take out money.

James Norman, Regulatory Team Manager, Borough of Poole, said: “This is a case of an elderly vulnerable woman being exploited by a trader. We are delighted with this verdict which sends a clear message to those people who seek to defraud members of our community that Trading Standards will use all means at their disposal to bring these traders to justice."

The case has been adjourned for sentencing to 9 May 2014 at 10am at Bournemouth Crown Court.

This successful conviction coincided with last week's National Rogue Trader Week (7 to 11 April).

During the week Trading Standards Officers throughout the South West focused on doorstep crime through education, engagement and enforcement in partnership with police forces. Borough of Poole's Trading Standards Officers checked four traders on 11 April who were subsequently found to be operating legally. Local residents were informed of the operation either face to face or via a letter through their letterbox.

To combat rogue traders, authorities in the South West are utilising:

*   partnership working with the Police
*   intelligence exchange with other agencies both regionally and nationally
*   advanced investigative techniques such as suspect identification procedures and forensics
*   a Regional Investigation Team to investigate the most complex cross border cases
*   proceeds of crimes confiscations and applications for compensation for victims
*   prevention and education through No cold calling zones, assured trader schemes and joint working with Social Services, charities and financial institutions.

Anyone can be targeted but rogue traders often focus on the most vulnerable and elderly members of the community. Trading Standards recommend:

*   using door stickers provided by local councils to deter cold callers
*   checking who is calling through a window
*   not opening the door if you are not sure who the person is
*   not talking to traders calling uninvited
*   reporting suspicious called to Trading Standards or the police.

Councillor Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for a Prosperous and Sustainable Poole, Borough of Poole said: "The term rogue trader undermines the real criminal intent behind some of these people. There is only one way consumers can really stay safe from rogue traders and high pressure salespeople in their own homes, and that is by saying a firm ‘no thanks’ to cold calling doorstep traders in the first place. If you do need work done on your homes use our trading standards approved trader scheme, www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or call 08454 040506 for details of vetted tradesmen. Let's send a strong message to these traders that they are not welcome to operate here in Poole."

Stuart Brown, Chair of the Trading Standards Partnership South West, Doorstep Crime Panel, said: "The South West has a higher than average proportion of elderly and vulnerable residents and therefore we are a particular target for rogue companies. Tackling doorstep crime is our number one priority for 2014. We will extend every effort to catch those rogue traders who bring misery to the doorstep of elderly and vulnerable residents trying to enjoy their retirement in peace. I have been impressed by the commitment of South West trading standards services and Police forces who are determined to pull together to deal with this problem."