FOUR men have been jailed after they were caught defrauding the elderly after posing as tree surgeons.
The men, acting as tree Surgeons across Benfleet, Hullbridge, and Southend, drove or walked the victims to the bank, where staff were then told the victims wanted to withdraw crash for a present.
Guilty – James Cook
Guilty – Marc Osbourn
Keegan Waters, 19, the youngest of the group, of Hinguar Street, Shoebury, was convicted of three counts of fraud, on December 10 2018, and was fined and ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work.
James Cook, 31, of no fixed address, received 12 months for two counts of fraud, and also received 18 months to run consecutively for two counts of burglary, after he stole a TV on Caster Drive, Pitsea, in June, and committed another burglary on York Road, Southend, in August.
Jake Rush, 26, of Clay Hill Road, Basildon, was found not guilty of one count of fraud by false representation.
Out of the seven men arrested, three of them were sentenced today. Two have been released without charge.
Marc Orsbourn, 40, of The Terrace, Gravesend, was handed 18 months in jail for two counts of fraud by false representation, and Mark Thwaites, 40, of Childs Crescent, Swanscombe, received five years for five counts of fraud by false representation.
Guilty – Mark Thwaites
Rob Lewis, Detective Constable of Basildon CID, said: “Following a complex and protracted investigation involving these callous and calculated crooks – two who have continuously tried to deny the offences – we today have had justice.
“The case involving all four men had a significant impact on the victims.
“They have also suffered a financial loss after being targeted by these men and we are doing everything we can to get the money back. We have managed to get thousands back but we remain determined to recover it all.
“This case continues to highlight the dangers of posed by cold callers who put leaflets through the letterboxes with the aim of targeting the elderly and vulnerable.
“I would urge everyone to remain vigilant, look out for elderly friends and relatives and only engage with trusted tradespeople who have been verified and checked.”