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Ada Johnson was targeted by the rogue traders.

Ada Johnson was targeted by the rogue traders.

Con men suspects arrested after ferry turned around

Emily Pearce

[email protected]

@IWCPEmily

Saturday, September 30, 2017 - 9:00

SUSPECTED rogue traders trying to escape to Portsmouth were nabbed by police after a car ferry turned around mid-crossing and brought them back to the Isle of Wight.
Wightlink staff, who were tipped off by police, spotted the suspects and their vans full of garden cuttings, and alerted officers who were waiting for them at Fishbourne.
Two men, aged 30 and 22, from Leicestershire and Cheshire, believed to have scammed several people in the Sandown and Shanklin area, were arrested on suspicion of committing fraud by false representation.
Their vehicles were seized and the older man was also arrested on suspicion of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour.
The arrests followed several reports of rogue trading on September 15 and 16, which police are treating as linked.
One incident saw a 92-year-old man targeted at Perowne Way, Sandown. Neighbours challenged suspected rogue traders offering to cut his bushes and the men left without any money changing hands.
Another victim was Shanklin pensioner Ada Johnson, 91. Unfortunately for Ada, she was expecting a visit from reputable tree surgeon Tom Greaves, and mistakenly believed the rogue traders - three men and a boy aged around ten - were from his company, TDG Tree Services.
She handed over £420 after they hacked some branches off a 'dangerous' tree in her garden. They originally asked for £800.
"It was a really unfortunate coincidence. I wouldn't have let a stranger in the house. I feel so stupid," said Ada.
"They asked for more money and said I must have some in the house but I only have my state pension.
"It's horrible to think you can't trust people. I don't want to be like that."
Tom, 28, of Wellington Road, Binstead, later took down the tree free of charge.
He said: "They had a leaflet from a legitimate tree surgeon in London and passed it off as their own company. This appalling behaviour creates a negative image for genuine tree surgeons like myself. We won't let these cowboys destroy people's faith in honest local businesses."
The two suspected rogue traders have been released without charge but remain under investigation.
Police Insp Terry Clawson said: “As part of routine enquiries into this suspected rogue trader activity on the Island officers contacted the ferry companies, who are always very supportive of the local police. Wightlink staff identified several vehicles on their ferry which appeared to be linked to enquiries. The vehicles could have been intercepted by officers on the mainland, but the ferry staff kindly offered to turn the ferry back in order to assist us. 
"Offences of this nature, which target some of the most vulnerable people in our community, will not be tolerated on the Island and we are really grateful to the ferry operators for their assistance."
If somebody suspicious calls at the door, call 823371 or the police on 101.
To report a scam call Action Fraud, on 0300 1232040.
bona fide tree surgeon?Tom Greaves, above, sorting out the tree in the garden.

bona fide tree surgeon?Tom Greaves, above, sorting out the tree in the garden.

 


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