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Jail for rogue builders who preyed on elderly

PUBLISHED: 11:23 12 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:19 25 August 2010

A GANG of cowboy builders have been jailed for ripping off elderly homeowners.

A GANG of cowboy builders have been jailed for ripping off elderly homeowners.

Three rogue builders working for Beckenham-based B Smith and Sons Builders were given prison sentences at Canterbury Crown Court last Tuesday for defrauding 43 elderly and vulnerable homeowners out of more than £880,000 from January 2003 to September 2007.

Ring leader and owner William Smith, 41, of Carlton Avenue, Greenhithe, was given eight years and four months for conspiracy to defraud elderly and vulnerable people.

His son Billy Nelson Smith, 21, of Green Street, Green Road, Dartford, was given 12 months and 18 months for two counts of fraud to run consecutively and two years for money laundering to run concurrently.

Timothy Killick, 36, of Stagshaw Close, Maidstone, was also given four years and six months for fraud and money laundering. All pleaded guilty.

The group would ruthlessly pick out and intimidate their victims, knocking on their doors and offering to make repairs to their homes often having climbed onto the roof or chimney stacks and caused damage beforehand.

They would 'find' other problems and charge extortionate prices for the so-called repairs.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Tristan Kluibenschadl said: "The group sought out elderly and vulnerable people and exploited them in the most shocking way, using scare tactics to ensure they parted with their life savings in many cases.

"Anyone tricked by this group should not feel foolish or embarrassed. They were organised and cunning men who, without any due respect for those people who had the misfortune to have been paid a visit by them, built up a weighty fortune through their trickery and lies, with the audacity to continue their activities even after arrest.

"It is satisfying to have brought this case to court when criminals of this nature often elude capture."

Three other men who worked as labourers Paul Baker, 20, of Henderson Drive, Dartford, Gary Begg, 34, of Eton Road in Dartford and John Saunders, 28, of Powerscroft Road in Sidcup were acquitted by the jury.

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