Flintshire Trading Standards bag another successful prosection
Last week James Challenger of The Quarter, Egerton Street, Chester pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
Challenger had worked for Emergency Support Services in Shotton which would cold call businesses claiming to be launching a campaign to raise money for the emergency services. They falsely claimed to be donating a significant proportion of the money they received from customers advertising to the emergency services.
Judge Niclas Parry said that this was a sophisticated conspiracy and that Challenger had played a role in training others in the business, he had also sold a seventh of the advertising space sold. He received an 18 month prison sentence suspended for 2 years, he was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £3000 towards the investigation costs.
This was a large investigation by Flintshire County Council’s Trading Standards Investigations Team and the Wales Regional Investigation Team that started in 2013 when a warrant was executed at the premises of Emergency Support Services. Nine people in total were put before the courts two of whom were found not guilty, of the rest they received accumulated sentences of thirteen and a half years prison sentences, nine and a half of which were suspended for 2 years, 1,300 hours of unpaid work, and £15,500 paid out of their own pockets towards our costs. Plus, most importantly, a sophisticated scam was shut down which was designed to con small businesses out of their money.
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Public Protection, Councillor Chris Bithell, said:
“This was a serious scam that traded on the good reputation of the emergency services and aimed to take money from many small businesses. The good work of Flintshire’s Trading Standard’s Investigations Team has closed down this scam business and the sentences handed down by the court sends a signal to others that this kind of business will not be tolerated here.”
Richard Powell, Flintshire’s Team Leader for Trading Standards Investigations, said:
“The investigation took 3 years and the investigating officers put in many hours of hard work unravelling what was a complex case using investigation techniques we had not used before. In the end, it is rewarding to see that the courts recognised the scam for what it was and handed down sentences that reflected their seriousness.”