A ROGUE trader duped elderly residents as old as 90 out of thousands of pounds for property work that often was not needed.

Daniel Fidler, of Beresford Road, Poole, cold called 14 properties offering free camera surveys of their drains and sewers.

In each case he said he had found problems like cracks in the pipes or tree roots growing into the pipes and in some instances he claimed that failure to have work carried out to fix these problems would result in much bigger problems in the future.

Thirty-year-old Fidler pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud by false representation and seven counts of unfair trading and he was jailed for 38 months at Reading Crown Court.

Cllr John Harrison, Bracknell Forest Council’s executive member for culture, delivery and public protection, said “This is clearly a serious case with a high level of harm with many vulnerable and, or, elderly victims a number of whom lived alone.

“This was reflected in the lengthy immediate custodial sentence handed down by the court.

"It is hoped that it sends a clear message to anyone engaged in this type of activity that there is the serious risk of prison if caught and brought before the court."

The court proceedings followed a “lengthy and complex investigation” by officers from the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Trading Standards Service in Berkshire.

The investigation started when a victim in Bracknell Forest and a victim in West Berkshire came to the attention of the trading standards team. The subsequent investigation revealed a pattern of offending across the south and south east.

The offences took place between July 2018 and April 2020. In some cases Fidler would offer to line the pipes with a resin using a stent, quoting high prices which consumers felt obliged to pay.

In most cases, the work was either not needed or poorly executed and more than one case the work actually blocked the pipes.

In one instance, he charged a household £21,100 for work that would normally cost £3,600 and caused such damage that the entire drainage system had to dug up and be replaced.

In another he was paid £6,912 and not only did an expert witness find the drains were in a serviceable condition, they could not find any lining.

The victims that the charges related to were aged between 78 and 90 years, with some of them living alone.

Sentencing judge Edward Burgess said Fidler had committed “mean, nasty offences”. A timetable was set for confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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