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Vincent Andrew Watkinson and Timothy Wright jailed for fraud
TWO ex-directors of a mobility aids firm have been jailed for five years after being convicted of a £1 million fraud, following an investigation sparked by a York pensioner.
Vincent Andrew Watkinson, 51, of Bythorpe Road, Chesterfield, and Timothy Wright, 47, of Goldcrest Road, Sponden, former directors of Derbyshire-based Compass Mobility Limited, were also banned from being company directors for 15 years.
They will now be subject to an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act to confiscate the assets they have acquired as a result of their criminal conduct.
An elderly woman in the York area who was victim of their scam said she hoped her “bitter and expensive” experience would serve as a warning to other vulnerable people.
She said: “I was trusting at a time when I was very ill. The Bath Aid cost me all the money I had put aside and was no good for me to use.
“I can’t even afford a holiday to the seaside now; they deserve to go to prison.”
The York-based Scambusters team investigated the offences, which related to the sales of mobility aids to elderly, infirm and vulnerable people in society, including one woman approaching her 100th birthday.
They remained in customer’s houses for lengthy periods of time – often for four hours – even after they had been asked to leave, sold a motorised scooter to a man who was registered blind and had uncontrolled epilepsy, and sold an inflatable bath lift – called a Bath Buddy – to a woman who was blind and unable to operate it.
Colin Rumford, head of public protection at City of York Council and spokesperson 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 to trading standards detailing these practices.”
Coun Dafydd Williams, the council’s cabinet member for crime and stronger communities, called the offences “cynical and appalling”.