Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rogue Traders Abandoned Man with Dementia at ATM

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rogue Traders Abandoned Man with Dementia at ATM

Article excerpt

Byline: Gareth Lightfoot Court reporter

A PAIR of callous rogue traders who preyed on householders in their 80s, charging them for nonexistent roofing work, are behind bars today.

Michael Anthony Gales, 26, and Lee James Davidson, 29, were each jailed for a year after they pretended to carry out repairs to pensioners' homes.

Their driver, alcoholic Philip Orton, 53, kept his freedom with a suspended prison sentence.

The gang did no work but charged two elderly people, abandoning a man with dementia after taking him to a cashpoint to pay them.

The judge, Recorder Eric Elliott QC, said they should feel "very, very great shame" for their "despicable acts".

He said they travelled from Hartlepool to Middlesbrough to target old, ill and vulnerable people and cheat them out of money.

He added the victims were fortunate not to appreciate the full impact of the crimes.

"But the public appreciates the full impact of what you did, and so do I," said the judge.

An 84-year-old woman with Alzheimer's was tricked into thinking the group had done guttering work for PS250 on July 26 last year.

They went to the home of an 81-year-old man with dementia less than a month later on August 20.

One of the conmen climbed up a ladder and sat on the man's roof doing nothing, pretending work was being done.

In fact "not a jot of work" was done on either home, prosecutor Ian West told Teesside Crown Court.

The second victim was taken to a Linthorpe cashpoint to withdraw money. When he did not have his cash card, he was left to make his own way home.

He paid PS60 for the phantom repairs.

Mr West said Gales was the "gobby one", Davidson the quiet one while Orton - recruited for his driving licence - hired the van.

The three from Hartlepool - Orton, of Windermere Road, Davidson, of Shelley Grove and Gales, of Brenda Road - all admitted two counts of fraud by false representation. …

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