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Conmen who targeted elderly woman to be sentenced

Daniel Baker (top left), Daniel Sherwood (top right), John Hart (bottom left) and Philip Budden Credit: Dorset Police

Four men found guilty of conning an elderly woman out of £120,000 in Dorset, will be sentenced later.

Police say the victim, who's now 88, was targeted because she was vulnerable.

She paid out the money by making cheques for work that had either not been completed or had been poorly completed and she had been excessively charged.

John Hart, aged 61 and of Hannington Place in Bournemouth, and Philip Budden, 37 and of Malmesbury Park Road, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation following a hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court on Monday 2 October 2017.

Daniel Baker, 40 and of Cartwright Close in Bournemouth, admitted money laundering offences at the same hearing and Daniel Sherwood, 34 and of Ringwood Road in Bournemouth, was found guilty today, Tuesday 10 October 2017, of two counts of money laundering following a five-day trial.

The victim was initially contacted by Hart, who asked about installing house insulation as part of a government scheme.

The victim then paid Hart £56,400 over the course of two years for work that was not needed.

Budden also contacted the victim and obtained £24,059 in cheques for poor and unnecessary work.

Baker claimed to work for the local authority and had found a water leak which had been traced to her address.

The victim was asked to pay a total of £40,400 for the work to be repaired.

There was no evidence of any work ever having taken place.

Sherwood was found guilty of receiving some of the money obtained from the victim by Baker.

The victim paid for further work to her home including repairs to her roof, insulation, damp proofing and general work around the house and garden.

Independent experts ruled that the prices quoted were highly excessive and the work had either not been carried out or was of poor quality.

These men targeted a vulnerable elderly woman and conned her into thinking work was needed at her home. They charged extortionate rates for this work, which was either not carried out or completed to a poor standard."

"I am pleased with the verdict from the court and I hope this case sends out a very strong message that Dorset Police takes these offences extremely seriously. We will do everything to safeguard vulnerable residents and I would urge members of the community to report any concerns about such activity to the police so it can be thoroughly investigated."

– Detective Inspector Fiona Gaffney, Dorset Police

Large increase in online scams

More people are using the internet for purchases Credit: PA

There has been a large increase in online scams in Oxford. The local Citizens Advice Bureau says it is because of the increase in the number of people using the internet for purchases.

Scams in the city went up by 73% in the past four years. Thames Valley Police recorded 546 offences related to cyber crimes in 2016.

The CAB is showing people how to identify scams.

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Three men in court after more than £1m fuel stolen

Three men have gone on trial in connection with a scam that saw fuel worth more than £1 million stolen from underground pipelines in the South East.

Maidstone Crown Court was told that there were several attacks on the pipelines, which carry fuel from refineries to customers and that fuel was then syphoned off and sold illegally.

Derek Johnson has our report.

Woman issues warning over potential chalet scam

A woman from Kent is warning people about a potential scam having lost almost four thousand pounds on a holiday chalet that didn't exist.

Melanie Atkinson thought she was booking a ski holiday together with her friends - but found later the chalet had disappeared from the online holiday site.

Abigail Bracken has the story.

Large increase in online scams in Dorset

Police are asking residents to report scams Credit: ITV

There's been a large increase in phone and online scams in Dorset according to police - and they're asking local residents to keep reporting incidents. Currently criminals are either pretending to be from HMRC or Talk Talk. Dorset Police wants to build intelligence so they can catch the culprits.

Pensioner, 92, is latest scam victim

Police in Hampshire are investigating after a 92-year-old man was conned.

The incident took place in the Sainsbury’s car park in Farlington, Portsmouth, between 11.30am and midday on Tuesday, 16 February.

The victim was sitting in his car when he was approached by a younger man who said he needed cash to buy diesel. The victim was persuaded to leave his vehicle and sit in the younger man’s car.

The younger man then took money from the victim’s wallet, before driving him to the cash machine at the supermarket where the pensioner withdrew more money.

In total, the younger man took £70 from the victim before handing him six boxes containing watches, which he claimed would be worth more than the money the victim had handed over.

The younger man is described as white, around 5ft 8ins tall, with a round face and short hair. He spoke with a Spanish accent and was smartly dressed and clean shaven.

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Sex offenders pose as agents to exploit young girls online

There's a warning that sex offenders are posing as modelling agents to convince young girls online that they could have a career in front of the camera.

Police say they've received various reports this year of girls being contacted and asked for explicit pictures or videos. Officers are now working with the National Crime Agency to track down those behind the scam, as Michael Billington has been finding out.

'Suspicious' man stops motorist and offers gold for cash

Female driver flagged down by man Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images

A woman has told police that a man flagged her down while she was driving and offered her gold in return for cash, claiming his credit card was not working.

The incident happened around 1pm on Monday, November 16, on the slip road connecting Tot Hill Services, near Highclere, with the southbound A34.

Hampshire Police say they have investigated previous scams where highly polished copper was made to look like gold and offered in return for cash so are appealing for help.

The man is of Middle Eastern origin, aged in his 30s and spoke German and English. He was 5ft 4ins, of a chubby build and wore a red chequered shirt and a brown jacket. His car was described as dark blue and there were three other men inside.

Anyone with information or who have been a victim of a similar scam should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101 quoting 44150398276.

The shame of being conned: Why victims are too embarrassed to admit they've been had

Every year more than three million people in the UK will fall victim to some kind of scam but few of us will report it because we're too embarrassed to do so. One victim is Joanne Harrison - she lost almost £5,000 when she answered a call from someone pretending to be from her internet provider. Chris Jepson reports.

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