Three men locked up for conning elderly - Herts

01/02/2013

Three travellers who bullied elderly and vulnerable people in to handing over large amounts of cash for little or no building and driveway work were locked up today, Friday, 01 February 2013.

Judge John Plumstead told Patrick Casey, James Delaney, and a 17-year-old they had cheated and harassed the victims in a "cold blooded, cruel, and a wicked form of offending."

Prosecutor Peter Shaw told St Albans Crown Court that the men targeted mainly elderly peoples' home in Ware, Borehamwood, and Enfield.

A 79-year-old man in Sunnyside Road, South Enfield, was conned out of £300 by men who called at his home saying they were from "Anglian" and were going to put "drip felt" on his roof.

Mr Shaw said "drip felt" was a pseudo-technical term and that Anglian had nobody working in the area at the time. The victim, who has since died, took down the vehicle registration number and it was traced to James Delaney.

An 89-year-old woman in Barton Way, Borehamwood, who suffers form extremely poor eyesight and memory loss, was tricked out of a total of £3,000 by a variety of cold calls. Men had cleared her guttering for £100 cash in just 30 minutes. She was told her down pipe was bunged up and it would cost a lot of money repair. They took her to Barclays Bank to withdraw more cash and numerous calls were made to her home in an attempt to get more money.

When a neighbour opened an inspection cover he found that hard core and broken slabs had been placed on a Tesco supermarket bag to block the drain. The victim's phone calls were analysed and it was found she had been called 26 times from a mobile phone linked to the teenager.

Then a 92-year-old woman with Parkinson's disease who lives in a bungalow in Heath Drive, Ware was conned out of £150 by men who said they could clean her drive. A neighbour, aged 37, also handed over £120 after being followed to the bank by the men who had spray-cleaned his drive.

A 75-year-old woman in the same road, who has multiple sclerosis, paid £250 for men to clean her drive, with the debris going down a small drain. They said they would seal the surface, but did not do so, said Mr Shaw.

They cold-called an 88-year-old woman again in Heath Drive and "bulldozed" her into paying £150 to have her drive washed.

An 81-year-old woman was approached by a man who said: "Your drive needs cleaning. All your neighbours are having it done. I can give you a special price." She did not hand over money, said Mr Shaw.

Patrick Casey, of Garden Avenue, Hatfield, pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud and four of aggravated commercial practices. The teenager also from Hatfield pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud and three charges of aggravated commercial practices. Delaney of Vanguard Way, Braintree, pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud and three of aggravated commercial practices.

Andrew McGee, defending the teenager who is now aged 17, said he was only 16 at the time. "It is clear others were involved."

Mr McGee, who also represented Delaney, said he had expressed remorse and was not a front man for the scam. Others were involved, he said.

For Patrick Casey, Richard Storey described the offences as opportunist. He said he had been married for 7 years and had three children.

Judge John Plumstead said: "These were a series of offences targeting the elderly and vulnerable. They were committed by a group of people who used deception and bullying on old people who were confronted by very physically tough looking men.

"Offences like this undermine the confidence of the elderly. They find they had been cheated, harassed and bullied out of money.

"It was cold blooded, cruel and a wicked form of offending. It was serious crime."

Patrick Casey was jailed for three and a half years, James Delaney was jailed for two years and the youth received 10 months detention and training.

As they left the dock the judge told them: "Think what you have done as you go down."

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