A cold caller has been jailed after trying to defraud an elderly woman in Halstead out of thousands of pounds.
Thomas Brown, of John English Avenue, Braintree, was sentenced to 45 weeks in prison after pleading guilty to fraud by false representation at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday, January 3.
Brown, 30, unemployed, was also given a restraining order to stop him cold calling again.
On March 17, 2015, Brown visited his victim, aged in her 90s, and insisted that she needed her gutters cleared. Shortly afterwards he returned and asked her pay by cheque to a third party with the amount left clear.
His accomplice, Tracey Hankin, of Teak Walk, Witham, tried to pay £6,600 into her bank account but the cheque bounced.
Hankin, 36, who appeared in court with Brown, received a 40 week sentence, suspended for 18 months, for fraud by false representation and has to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.
Investigating Officer Dc Darren Herbert said: “Fraud and money laundering are crimes that can have a direct impact on individuals and companies alike and can cost them dearly, enabling criminals to benefit financially from their deceptions and pre-meditated intentions.
“Although this case saw no financial loss to the elderly victim, her trust was breached and her vulnerability was preyed on for financial gain.
“A message for criminals is that the police and the courts will deal with you rigorously and if you commit crime like this you are likely to go to prison and have your civil liberty removed.”
Most people who call at your home will have a genuine reason for doing so but by taking a few simple precautions you can protect yourself and your home.
Follow Essex Police`s advice to stay safe:
• If you receive a phone call asking for your bank details or for large sums of cash call police from a different phone, for example a neighbours, or wait 5 minutes and be sure you hear a dial tone before dialing.
• Don’t be frightened to ask for identification and always check it carefully. If you’re not sure, ask them to come back another day.
• Think about installing a door chain and use it. Keep the door on the chain until you’ve seen identification.
• If you need your glasses to read the identification, close the door before going to find them. Don’t leave the door open and unattended.
• Remember to lock the back door before opening the front.
• Don’t be pressured into letting someone into your home if you have suspicions.
• Don’t keep large amounts of cash in the house.
• Don’t believe scare stories. Not all callers are genuine.
For more advice on cold calling, visit https://www.essex.police.uk/advice/bogus-callers/.