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Men jailed for £4k rat con pulled on pensioner
3:05pm Thursday 28th July 2011 in News
CONMEN posing as pest controllers took pet rats to a house to convince the vulnerable occupant his home was infested with vermin.
They had specifically targeted the pensioner, who lived on his own near Fordingbridge.
Prosecutor David Reid said Michael Black told the victim he needed to look around his garden because a rat had been spotted.
He said he would have to put down pellets costing £350, implying if this was not done there might be possible problems with bailiffs or eviction.
“This work would have cost about £37,” said Mr Reid.
Black then took the pensioner to Fordingbridge where the money was withdrawn from two accounts.
Black returned with accomplice Richard Cooper and pretended further work costing £3,000 needed to be carried out.
They took him to Ringwood to get the cash.
A third man, Robert Cooper, was in regular phone contact with them at the time.
On a subsequent visit, Black and Richard Cooper told the man they had found two rats in his house. They killed one, duping the pensioner into handing over £1,000.
A few days later Richard Cooper approached the man in Fordingbridge saying they needed more cash and a figure of £13,000 was mentioned. But the suspicious OAP called in the police and they were waiting when the trio turned up at his house.
Black, 46, of Gainsborough Close, Salisbury, Robert Cooper, 32, of High Street, Fordingbridge, and Richard Cooper, 20, of Salisbury Road, Odstock, admitted four counts of fraud and one of having articles in connection with fraud.
“This was a well planned, well organised confidence trick specially targeting an elderly and vulnerable man,” said Judge Gary Burrell QC, jailing Black for three years, Robert Cooper for three-and-a-half years, and Richard Cooper for two years.