Doorstep conmen - final fraudster gets suspended sentence

Eastbourne Hastings Bexhill Rye Battle Herald Observer

Eastbourne Hastings Bexhill Rye Battle Herald Observer

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A man who admitted trying to con a woman in her 80s out of £2,000 was spared a jail sentence this week.

Thomas Owen, 23, of Lower Green Road, Esher, was part of a gang which conned residents of Henfield and Warnham out of thousands of pounds, by pretending to work on water supply and roofing problems at their homes.

They were caught because a victim’s neighbour took a photo of them and passed it to the police.

Owen, who had pleaded guilty to one count of fraud, was given a six-week sentence, suspended for a year, with 100 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Charles Kemp, who had jailed the other conmen at a hearing on August 5, said he was taking a more lenient approach this time because Owen had only been involved in one of the incidents, hadn’t managed to get away with any money, had co-operated with the police when he was arrested, and had pleaded guilty to the charge. Sentencing had been adjourned for a pre-sentence report.

He told Owen: “I had the opportunity of seeing that lady and hearing her giving evidence. What was particularly moving about her account was her reaction to it, namely how dreadful she felt that she had been so stupid.

“It’s particularly unpleasant fraud when it’s targeted on an elderly person, living alone in her house.”

The other gang members were: Jessie Fuller, 21, of Parsonage Road, Cranleigh, (jailed for eight months); Stephen Gasson, 28, of Nelson Close, Sompting (jailed for eight months); Cornelius Mitchell, 40, of Osborne Drive, Sompting (jailed for eight weeks and ordered to pay £7,400 compensation); and Christopher Heron, 24, of Smithwood Avenue, Cranleigh (jailed for 20 months).