A rogue trader who targeted elderly victims in the Poole area has been sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Noah Peter Chapman, aged 24 and of no fixed abode, was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Wednesday 12 April 2017 after admitting two charges of fraud by false representation, two offences of fraud by failing to disclose information and criminal damage.
His sentence will be served consecutive to a three-year jail term Chapman is already serving for other offences.
The court was told on Thursday 17 March 2016 Chapman visited the home address of a couple aged in their 80s in the Broadstone area.
He claimed to work for the council and left a flyer with his mobile number.
Chapman returned the next day with another man and cut down a tree to the rear of the property that belonged to the local authority.
He then told the victims he would cut down some other branches and dead wood and charged them £1,000 in cash.
On Tuesday 22 March 2016 Chapman returned to the property with another man and claimed they had cut down the wrong tree.
The victims declined further work and left a message on the mobile number they had been given asking them not to return, the court heard.
Three days later another man, who said he was called ‘Mo’ attended the property and said he was there to take a branch down.
The victims refused to let him do the work and said they would report him if he did not leave.
The Borough of Poole Council later confirmed one of their trees had been felled illegally in the area and the work had been done without any safety assessments, the court was told.
The court heard that Chapman also targeted a second victim, an 82-year-old woman in the Upton area.
On Tuesday 29 March 2016 Chapman visited her property with another man and gave her an estimate for gardening work.
They asked to use the victim’s bin liners, spades and plastic tubs for rubbish.
The men gave a verbal quote before doing the gardening work and refused payment by a cheque.
They drove the victim to a cashpoint in their van and she withdrew £500, which she gave to them.
The men then left and never returned.
Chapman was arrested on Monday 16 May 2016 and was later charged with the offences.
Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, of Dorset Police, said: “These were despicable crimes against elderly victims.
“Rogue traders such as Chapman specifically target the older generation, who on occasions can be talked into accepting works at their properties.
“I want to thank the victims and their families for assisting with us with this investigation.
“I would also ask the public to call police with any concerns regarding elderly or vulnerable neighbours who they think are being targeted by rogue traders.
“Registration numbers and flyers are a good line of enquiry for us.
“Cold calling itself it not illegal but a trader that ignores a sticker or notice on your door stating that you do not wish to receive cold calls may be committing a criminal offence.
“Anyone who sells you goods or services, such as gardening work, that cost more than £42 must provide you with a written notice giving you 14 days to cancel the agreement.
“Anyone who fails to give this notice will also be committing a criminal offence, which Trading Standards can investigate.
“Never accept work from anyone who offers it over the phone or at your door.
“Never go to the bank with a tradesperson or give them your account details.
“Never let anyone into your property unless you know them.
“Do not hesitate to ask a tradesman to wait on the doorstep while you check their validity.”
For further information visit www.dorset.police.uk or www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/trading-standards.
Richard Herringshaw, Principal Trading Standards Officer for Dorset County Council Trading Standards, said: “We continue to work closely with Dorset Police to make it as difficult as possible for rogue traders to operate in Dorset.
“We are very pleased with this result as it shows how effective that partnership can be.”
Chapman was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday 23 December 2016 at Southampton Crown Court for offences of causing death by careless driving and perverting the course of justice.
His 12-month sentence for the Dorset offences will be served consecutive to the jail term Chapman is already serving.
Judge Brian Forster QC, sentencing at Bournemouth Crown Court, said that the sentence would have been longer were Chapman not already serving a long sentence.