Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Bury St Edmunds: Charities and schools among victims of alleged financial scam

13:22 08 May 2014

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court


Four salesmen have been accused of fraudulently altering contracts so that customers, including schools and charities, were misled into entering costly financial agreements against their will.

The salesmen at DWS Environmental Ltd, based in Bury St Edmunds, appeared before Ipswich Crown Court yesterday, facing 26 counts of fraud by false representation between them.

Christopher Gill, 39, from The Vinefields in Bury St Edmunds, Gary Green, 53, of Peregrine Road, Ilford, Alan Wilson, 50, of Curzon Street, Burton on Trent, and David Leather, 50, of Trafalgar Road, Manchester, all deny the charges.

Christopher Kerr, prosecuting on behalf of Suffolk County Council Trading Standards, said the men “dishonestly induced” their customers into long-term water cooler leases, which cost thousands of pounds to opt out of.

“The allegation, in a nutshell, is that each of the defendants acted fraudulently,” he said.

“In particular, they deliberately misled their customers into believing they were only going to be committed for a limited period, typically six to 12 months, when in fact they were going to be entering into a much longer commitment of five, even six years.

“The reason, the prosecution alleges, that the period of commitment was so limited is they knew the customer would not be prepared to tie themselves in for such a lengthy period of time. It is also the case they would earn commission from the business they sold, which would be dependent on the length of the contract period.”

Mr Kerr told the court that handwriting evidence would prove each of the defendants had altered their customers’ order sheets to lengthen the contract.

The salesmen, he said, would take signed order sheets from their customers and then add extra digits and fill in blank boxes.

The court heard, customers would be left with no copy of the agreement, and only realised what they had been signed up to when a statement from Chivington Finance and Leasing arrived – a company said to hold “close ties” with DWS Environmental.

Mr Kerr said the defendants’ defence is that while they did change the figures, they did so consensually in the presence of the customer - claims the prosecution rejects.

Among Green’s alleged victims were two charities – Drug and Alcohol Action Programme and the Anglia Cancer Network – which Mr Kerr said had made “quite clear they could not commit for longer than six to 12 months because of budget uncertainties”.

Norwich Road Community Primary School in Thetford was another of the victims outlined in court, which Mr Kerr said had been duped into a lengthy contract by Gill.

The trial continues.

Sir David Attenborough reopened the Abberton Reservoir for Essex and Suffolk Water and Essex Wildlife Trust. The reservoir has had an enormous amount of work done to it as a reservoir and as a wildlife habitat.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust today launches an ambitious £1million public appeal as part of a land purchase plan that is on a scale “unprecedented” in the nature charity’s long history.

Abnormal loads will be making their way along the roads of Suffolk over the next two weeks

Motorists in Suffolk are being warned to watch out for traffic delays as three abnormal loads slowly make their way along the county’s roads over the next two weeks.

Frankel welcomes guests to Newmarket National Heritage Centre

Her Majesty The Queen is to officially open the new £15million National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art in the Suffolk town of Newmarket, where many of her own horses are trained and stabled.

The RSPCA in Martlesham has a number of  black cats and kittens that need a home.

With a love for cuddles and having their tummies tickled it seems unlikely these furry friends could be evil omens or harbingers of doom.

Local charities gathered together at Greshams in
 Ipswich  for the launch of the Rotary Orwell Walk
 2017 .

One of the most popular and successful fundraising events in Suffolk has been officially launched.

Halloween party at Orford  in November 1972

The shops in Ipswich town centre are stocked up with witches outfits and trick or treat supplies, and supermarkets are doing a roaring trade in pumpkins as Halloween fast approaches.

The Long Shop, Leiston, the Final Fling, steam engines and stalls 
- Roger Threadgold and Dave Bennett with their Classic Butchers Van

Exhibits at one of Suffolk’s favourite museums got all steamed up for the final time this season.

Most read

Great Days Out


Click here to view
the Great Days Out


Most commented


Show Job Lists


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24