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Former Compass Mobility Limited directors guilty of £1 million mobility aid scam
TWO ex-directors of a mobility aids firm have been convicted of a £1 million fraud following an investigation sparked by a York pensioner.
Vincent Andrew Watkinson, 50, of Bythorpe Road, Chesterfield, and Timothy Leonard Herbert Wright, 46, of Goldcrest Road, Sponden, will be sentenced next month after they were found guilty on four counts of conspiracy to defraud.
The former directors of Derbyshire-based Compass Mobility Limited were at the centre of a probe by the York-based trading standards’ Scambuster team over the sales of mobility aids to elderly, infirm and vulnerable people. Pensioners in their 80s and 90s, including one woman approaching her 100th birthday, were targeted.
They also sold a motorised scooter to a blind, epileptic man and an inflatable bath lift to a blind woman who could not operate it, and signed people up to unaffordable finance agreements then refused to cancel them.
Police and trading standards officials from York and the East Midlands launched a joint operation in 2009 and uncovered hundreds of complaints against the company relating to goods valued at more than £1 million.
Watkinson and Wright’s fellow director, John Alexander Higginson, 63, earlier admitted a range of offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. He will also be sentenced next month.
A further investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act will now be launched to confiscate the assets the directors acquired through criminal conduct.
Colin Rumford, City of York Council’s head of public protection and spokesman for Yorkshire and the Humber Trading Standards Scambuster Team, said: “These crimes were not committed by rogue members of the sales team – the sales practices were embedded in the company’s procedures and training regimes and several former members of staff provided evidence detailing these practices.”