1. ITV Report

Bogus gardener jailed for targeting elderly in distraction burglaries

Peter Varey was given a jail term of five years and four months Credit: Herts Police

A bogus gardener who admitted stealing from pensioners across Hertfordshire has been handed a prison sentence.

Peter Varey targeted his victims by delivering leaflets to homes in Bushey, Borehamwood and Bishop’s Stortford advertising gardening services by Benson’s Tree Services and Lambert’s Tree Services.

Those who expressed an interest were then visited by a group of men who distracted the victims, many of whom were elderly, while stealing thousands of pounds cash and jewellery from inside their homes.

The offences occurred between March and April last year (2017).

Varey, aged 32, formerly of Courtauld Road in Basildon, Essex, was sentenced to five years and four months for conspiracy to burgle and 10 months to run concurrent for conspiracy to defraud, after pleading guilty.

Two other men were sentenced in connection with the investigation on October 11, 2017.

Peter Varey was already serving time in prison for similar offences when he was convicted. I am pleased he has been handed a further custodial sentence and will remain behind bars so he can no longer target vulnerable members of our society. His actions have had a devastating effect on some of his victims and I hope this sentence provides some comfort to them and their families.”

– Detective Constable Phil Terry

Police say people who commit these types of offences often use pressure and intimidation to make the victim agree to the work, which is often unnecessary and overpriced.

The are advising people never to accept services from cold callers but instead use a recommended company.

A list of endorsed companies can be found here.

If you think you have been targeted by rogue traders, contact police on 101. If they are still at your address, ring 999.