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Bury St Edmunds: Four rogue salesmen sentenced for defrauding customers through water cooler scam

PUBLISHED: 18:40 01 August 2014 | UPDATED: 18:40 01 August 2014

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

Archant

Four rogue salesmen have been sentenced to a combined total of 38 months after fraudulently misleading customers into entering costly financially agreements against their will.

The salesmen, who had been employed at DWS Environmental Ltd based in Bury St Edmunds, were also ordered to carry out 490 hours of unpaid work and pay £14,400 in costs, following yesterday’s hearing at Ipswich Crown Court.

They had pleaded or been found guilty of 19 offences between them, relating to charges of fraud by false representation.

Numerous businesses had complained about the salesmen, after rental agreements for water coolers were altered without their knowledge, tying them to costly long-term contracts.

Trading Standards initiated an investigation in 2011 and found evidence that lease agreements had been increased from periods of three, six or 12 months to as many as 75. The total value of contracts relating to the charges is about £80,000.

Councillor Colin Spence, cabinet member for public protection said: “This case is a continual reminder that scammers don’t just target consumers, they also con businesses.

“It is very easy to think that you won’t be fooled but scammers are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to take your money.”

Peter Oakes, 58, of Devon was sentenced to 17 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, 200 hours unpaid work and £6,000 costs. Gavin Heyhoe, 45, of Nottingham, was sentenced 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, 140 hours unpaid work and £1,200 costs. Alan Wilson, 50, of Curzon Street, Burton on Trent, received a six month sentence, suspended for 15 months, 90 hours unpaid work and £1, 200 costs. David Leather, 50, of Trafalgar Road, Manchester was handed a three month sentence, suspended for 12 months, 60 hours unpaid work and £6,000 costs.

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