Man jailed after vulnerable targeted in roofing scam

Court news
Court news

Money paid to rogue roofers who struck in the Buckingham area found its way into the bank account of Jonathan Barnstable.

And on Tuesday at Aylesbury Crown Court Judge Francis Sheridan jailed him for seven months for his part in a money laundering crime, linked to a roof repairs scam investigated by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards.

​His case follows jail sentences by the court in June for Billy Hilden and Colin Packham, found guilty of their parts in laundering money from the scam, and a suspended sentence and supervision order in July for Michelle Edwards who admitted her part.

The doorstep scam involved more than a quarter of a million pounds for spurious roof repairs to two homes - one in the Buckingham area and the other in Thatcham. The crooks targetted vulnerable residents.

An independent surveyor, commissioned by Trading Standards, said there was no evidence of any significant works at the Thatcham house and in any event such works were unnecessary. He found sub-standard roof work on the Buckingham area home worth little more than £280.

Barnstable, of Avenue Road, Epsom, Surrey, pleaded guilty to four counts of acquiring and transferring criminal property, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The court heard that Barnstable twice met a man called Raymond in the Woodstock pub in Cheam, Surrey, who said he had a problem paying money into his bank account for materials for a building job.

On October 10, 2012, Raymond asked him if he would accept a bank transfer of £10,000, and pass the money on to him in two cash transactions. Thirteen days later he asked him to accept another £5,600 and transfer it to him cash. Mr Barnstable was paid £600 for the these transactions.

The money turned out to be proceeds from the roof repair scam - the larger amount from Thatcham resident Brian Hotham, and the smaller amount from Roger Faulkner who lived in the Buckingham area.

Judge Sheridan described the roofing scam as a despicable crime by an organised gang of criminals in which Barnstable had a ‘small but important part’.

Martin Phillips, Buckinghamshire County Council cabinet member for community engagement and public health, said: “These are not easy crimes to investigate, but their determination demonstrates we will continue to prosecute these crooks until they realise Buckinghamshire is a no-go area for them,

“However plausible doorstep rogue traders may seem, we all need to watch that we and our neighbours aren’t taken for a ride by them.”

On June 26 Billy Hilden, of Croydon, south London, was jailed for three and a half years for his part in a fraud relating to £73,450 in bills for roofing work that didn’t need doing.

He denied the charge, but the jury found him guilty.

Mr Hilden also denied four charges of laundering £24,600 from one resident: money he banked, withdrew and which then could not be traced. He was found guilty and given a 12-month concurrent prison sentence.

Also on June 26 Colin Packham, of Morden, south west London, was jailed for 14 months on six money laundering charges involving the acquisition and disposal of £25,250 from both residents.

He denied the charges but the jury found him guilty.

Michelle Edwards, who lives in Surrey, admitted acquiring and transferring criminal property: putting £12,000 from one of the residents through her account.

She was sentenced on July 1 to four months in jail suspended for two years with a 12-month supervision order.