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Suffolk/Essex: Rogue trader gets 30-month jail term
By Jane Hunt, on 25 February 2012
Victims of the gang, some of whom were in their 80s, were “bullied and cajoled” into handing over large sums of money and on two occasions 27-year-old Mark Bundock even gave them a lift to withdraw money, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Sentencing Bundock, of Berkley Close, Highwoods, Colchester, Judge Peter Thompson said the gang had “ruthlessly exploited” elderly and vulnerable householders and one man had become so anxious as a result of what happened to him that he had fallen into a decline and had died.
The court heard that another couple were forced to take out a bank loan and equity release after the gang threatened to take action against them if they didn’t pay the money they claimed they were owed.
Bundock admitted five offences of participating in a fraudulent business, money laundering and possession of a small quantity of drugs and was jailed for a total of 30 months.
Also before the court was Stephen Vandervord, 53, of Victoria Chase, Colchester who admitted one offence of fraud by false representation.
The court heard that Vandervord, who was jailed for six months, had not been part of the gang of rogue traders, but had helped a couple targeted by the gang to get equity release in their home when they couldn’t meet the gang’s demands for payment and had committed an offence by failing to tell them he wasn’t registered with the Financial Services Authority.
Andrew Shaw, prosecuting, said the offences the court had heard about had been committed over a five- to six-month period between May and October 2010 in Suffolk and Essex.
He said gang members had turned up at victims’ homes and said they had noticed a problem with their roof while working at a nearby property. On one occasion a woman heard a loud crash at her property during the night and the following day two men called at the house saying they had noticed tiles had come off and she needed a new roof which would cost £18,000.
Mr Shaw said there was a clear inference damage to the roof had been caused deliberately by the gang. He said surveyors who examined work done by the gang described it as “poor quality” and said that in some cases the work had been unnecessary.
Matthew Pardoe, for Bundock, said his client was at the bottom of the chain and had been exploited by other members of the gang who he had refused to name. He said Bundock had been paid a flat daily rate and was a “bit part player.” He had given his real name and bank account details to customers and felt genuine remorse for the offences.
David Howell for Vandervord said his client had financial problems and had been declared bankrupt, He said had made about £1,700 from the equity release work for the couple and accepted he should have made it clear he wasn’t registered with the FSA.
After the case, Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for public protection, said: “The strong relationship that exists between police and Trading Standards has enabled these offenders to be taken off the streets
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