Illness saves rogue trader from prison

A 77-year-old rogue builder has been spared jail on grounds of illness, after a cold calling campaign in which he conned elderly victims out of several thousands of pounds. Thomas Gumble, of Tooting, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, at Croydon Crown Court on24 February. He was also given a criminal behaviour order, which prevents him from cold calling or carrying out any unsolicited building work anywhere in England or Wales. This is the first time a criminal behaviour order has been granted in London specifically for a trading standards investigation. Gumble, who traded as TG Gardening, had pleaded guilty to three offences under the Fraud Act and three offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. He would offer to carry out building work for victims in the Norbury and Thornton Heath areas, in exchange for extortionate amounts of money. In one case, Gumble regularly cold called an 89-year-old widow over a seven-year period, duping her into making 26 payments amounting to more than 26,000. Another victim paid him 8,000 for two garden beds to be filled with concrete, while one woman was charged 3,000 for roofing work. Confiscation proceedings have been launched against Gumble, whichwill examine his assets to see what he gained as a result of his criminal activity. Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council, said: Id like to praiseour excellent trading standards officers for successfully prosecuting this case. Gumble preyed on some of our boroughs most vulnerable residents and he has finally been brought to justice. These were despicable and callous crimes, which, as the judge said, would have resulted in a custodial sentence had it not been for Gumbles medical condition.

Bill successfully passes through both Houses The Consumer Rights

Bill has now completed its passage through the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and will soon be ready for Royal Assent. The Consumer Rights Act is due to come into force on 1 October 2015. It completed the ping pong stages between parliamentary houses last month (March) and MPs voted to allow some changes to the Bill covering online secondary ticket sales and weights and measures following recommendations by the House of Lords. Jo Swinson, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, said: The Bill contains important new protections for consumers, alongside measures to lower regulatory burdens for business. All this, together, will make markets work better, which is good for consumers, good for business and, therefore, good for growth.

Jihadis linked to cold-calling scam

FOLLOW OUR ADVICE When approached by a stranger about your bank details, members of the public are advised to: G Use caution never share your pin with anyone G Think never hand your bank card, or any goods you have purchased as a result of a phone call, to anyone who comes to your front door G Investigate if you think you have been a victim of a scam, call the police Scotland Yard is investigating a cold-calling scam in which pensioners were fleeced so that jihadis could travel to fight for radical Islamist groups in Syria. During March, counter-terrorism police arrested four men they believe are connected with the scam, on suspicion of money laundering. These arrests form part of an ongoing fraud investigation. All four have now been released on bail. Details released by Scotland Yard describe a scam in which a fraudster called elderly and vulnerable people while posing as a police officer. He told them that their bank accounts had been compromised and suggested that they transfer money into an account under his control. One elderly victim reportedly lost 150,000 to the scammers in this way. The Metropolitan Police are advising of the public on the best way to combat such scams, saying: If you receive a call like this, from someone claiming to be a police officer, hang up the phone, wait at least five minutes to make sure the phone line has cleared or use another phone line before ringing the phone number on your bank card. Remember, your bank or the police will never ask for your pin, your bank card or to withdraw money. People are also being encouraged to download a copy of The Little Book of Big Scams.

Prison for men selling counterfeit goods in Lincolnshire

A father and his two sons were handed prison sentences at Lincoln Crown Court on 19 February for selling counterfeit clothing in Ingoldmells, near Skegness, Lincolnshire. They had been charged with offences under the Trade Marks Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act. Iftakhar Ahmed, from Walsall, West Midlands, was running two market stalls within the Fantasy Island amusement park with the help of his twin sons, Hasan and Asad Iftakhar. In 2011, Nike discovered that copies of their trainers were being sold at Trainerz4U and 350 Sea Lane. They joined forces with Lincolnshire Trading Standards, Lincolnshire Police and representatives from Adidas to raid the market stalls, seizing enough counterfeit clothing to fill two 40ft shipping containers. Trading standards continued to monitor the stalls while further investigations were being carried out, and found more fakes just one year later. During sentencing at the court, the judge said: Word has to get out that people who deal in counterfeit goods will go to prison. Iftakhar Ahmed pleaded not guilty while Hasan and Asad pleaded guilty. They were handed prison sentences of two years and six months, 12 months, and six months respectively.