2 sentenced for fraud
offences in Formby and Birkenhead
MERSEYSIDE Police Detectives have urged people to look out
for vulnerable friends and family after 2 men were jailed for fraud and theft.
Andrew Donnie Lovell and Charles Smith pleaded guilty in Liverpool Crown Court
to fraud by false representation and were jailed for 3 years, 4 months. Smith
received an additional 8 months for insurance fraud, to run concurrently.
Their victims were elderly women in Birkenhead and Formby.
On 5 January 2017, the pair demanded a 75 year old woman, on Manor Hill,
Claughton, pay them ₤3,500 cash in order to seal her garden path, but the work
was never done.
On 9 January 2017, an 84 year woman with Alzheimer's disease was
targeted on Altcar Lane, Formby, where Lovell and Smith claimed there were
problems with missing roof tiles which needed replacement. The work was
not carried out.
Detective Constable Chris O'Connor from Merseyside Police's Economic Crime Team
said:- "Andrew Lovell and Charles Smith won the trust of 2 elderly women
and ruthlessly exploited that trust by taking large sums of money for work they
had no intention of ever carrying out. It's hard to believe that anyone would
stoop so low as to try and defraud elderly people out of money. It can be
absolutely shattering for the victims who perhaps are elderly or have health
issues which render them particularly vulnerable or who are naturally trusting,
to fall victim in such a way."
DC O'Connor added:- "There are a number of general steps everyone can take
to help prevent falling victim to fraud. If you want building work or repairs
carried out on your home, never agree to it being done by a stranger who turns
up on your door step. Always use a reputable company and, if you are in any
doubt, speak to a relative to help you or take advice from Trading Standards. Do
not open your door if you are unsure who the caller is. Always make sure you
know who visitors are by asking to see their identification, genuine callers
won't mind you doing this; if callers haven't got valid identification, don't
let them in. Don't keep large quantities of cash at home. It's better in the
bank where it's safe. Finally, I'd appeal to the friends and relatives of anyone
who is elderly to take the time to speak to them and re-iterate these messages.
Advice like this often comes best from someone people trust and, if you do this,
you may just stop someone you love becoming a victim of crime."
Detective Chief Inspector Craig Sumner said:- "We have recently launched a
campaign, Operation Signature, to identify and support vulnerable victims who
will receive the support of a dedicated Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer.
Merseyside Police is joining forces with partner agencies such as Trading
Standards to reduce the opportunities criminals may have to access the accounts
of potential victims or persuade victims to part with their money. As a force,
we are determined to protect vulnerable people from offenders such as Lovell and
Smith from the moment they call us or Action Fraud. We are training call
handlers to identify victims at risk of exploitation at the hands of people like
them and ensure they receive the most appropriate service, working with partners
to provide the best support. We regularly visit the victims of fraud at home to
provide additional support and advice to help prevent further offences."
For more advice on fraud go to:-