Two criminals who conned vulnerable people out of tens of thousands have today been sentenced.
Two doorstep criminals who cold called vulnerable people in their 70s and 80s and conned them out of tens of thousands of pounds have been sentenced today at Chester Crown Court.
The victims of Jamie Anderson (aged 36, of Grange Lane, Winsford) and Michael Hickey (aged 33, of Station Road, Winsford) were all aged between 73 and 87 and many lived alone. They were pressured in their homes into paying for alarm systems or energy efficient home improvements such as new windows, radiators or boilers. Work was then either not carried out, they were overcharged, or they were not provided with refunds after legitimately cancelling their contract.
Anderson was sentenced to 22 months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, and disqualified from being a director for six years after being convicted of seven fraud offences and one trade mark offence. Hickey was handed an 18-month Community Order and ordered to complete 150hrs of unpaid work after being convicted of one fraud offence.
Some of the victims were frightened into paying for alarm systems by Anderson, who claimed they were at high risk of theft and burglary.
Mr Anderson, who was a director of companies with several different trading names** and Mr Hickey, who was a director of Energy Home Improvements Ltd, were convicted following a prosecution taken by Cheshire West and Chester Council after an investigation by the National Trading Standards North West Regional Investigation Team, hosted by Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The crimes were carried out between January 2015 and October 2017 in the North West and South East of England, and in North Wales. Both defendants were convicted at Chester Crown Court on 20th June 2022.
One 83-year-old victim paid £8,160 in two instalments for windows he never received. After making an initial payment of £2,407, a ‘salesman’ visited his home and told him he needed to pay the remaining £5,753 so that the price would not rise.
Another victim, aged 73 and living alone in poor health, paid £4,089 for a new boiler and radiators after Anderson visited his home out of the blue. Anderson visited the victim a further four times, telling him he needed to pay another £2,961 for the boiler and radiators because the initial payment had not ‘gone through’. No boiler or windows were ever fitted.
A further victim, who was aged 82 and caring for his wife with dementia, was overcharged for an alarm system. He paid £2,000 – more than double the sum legitimate professionals would charge – for a system that was unfit for purpose.
To mislead his customers further, Anderson falsely claimed his company, 999 Security Systems Ltd, was employing ‘ex-police officers and fire brigade officers’.
Sales brochures bearing the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) logo were also seized from Anderson’s vehicle following his arrest. His use of the trademark was intended to create consumer trust in 999 Security Systems Ltd, despite an earlier warning from BSIA about the unlawful use of their logo.
Lord Michael Bichard, Chair, National Trading Standards, said:
“It’s clear from the age of their victims that these defendants deliberately set out to target vulnerable individuals who could be easily manipulated. They worked hard to win their trust, with one victim even indicating he had thought of Anderson as a friend. Warning their customers about the risk of being burgled, only to steal thousands of pounds from them is a particularly cruel tactic and I’m delighted that this pair have been brought to justice.
“I congratulate all involved in securing today’s sentence, which sends a clear message that this type of criminality will not go unpunished. Anyone who has been a victim of doorstep crime or knows someone who has should report it to the Citizens Advice consumer service helpline by calling 0808 223 1133.”
Notes to Editors
For more information, please contact the National Trading Standards press office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 7101 5013
Notes to Editors
* Jamie Anderson was convicted under the Fraud Act 2006 and Trade Marks Act 2002
**Trading names of Jamie Anderson’s companies included:
•Ecorend Solutions Ltd
•Ecogreen Improvements Ltd
•Ecoglaze Solutions Ltd
•Ecohome Solutions Ltd
•999 Fire and Security Ltd
About National Trading Standards
National Trading Standards delivers national and regional consumer protection enforcement. Its Board is made up of senior and experienced heads of local government trading standards from around England and Wales with an independent Chair. Its purpose is to protect consumers and safeguard legitimate businesses by tackling serious national and regional consumer protection issues and organised criminality and by providing a “safety net” to limit unsafe consumer goods entering the UK and protecting food supplies by ensuring the animal feed chain is safe. The National Trading Standards North West Regional Investigation Team is hosted by Cheshire West and Chester Council.