A MOBILITY aid salesman who conned £50,000 from vulnerable people has been jailed for five years at Nottingham Crown Court.
Darren Sharpe, 42, from Mansfield, worked under the company name of Ideal Mobility Solutions, selling mobility aids to mostly elderly people.
A Wombwell couple were among his victims, after buying a mattress with supposed health benefits for £300, when it was only worth £30.
Sharpe was convicted of fraud offences across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. He was also convicted of operating a fraudulent business.
He mainly mis-sold the ordinary mattress covers that he claimed would help ailments such as bad backs and stiff joints.
Mobility scooters and stair lifts were also sold at an inflated price or were not delivered. Unauthorised transactions from credit cards were taken as part of the scam.
The East Midlands Scambusters Team – a regional unit funded by the National Trading Standards Board which deals with large cases of fraud, high pressure selling and deceptive practices – worked alongside South Yorkshire Police, Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards and Derbyshire Police, after they received dozens of complaints.
Money that Sharpe took from his victims ranged from £200 to £5,000.
DC David Porter from South Yorkshire Police said: “This has been a joint, lengthy and complicated investigation. Sharpe preyed on vulnerable victims, using the M1 corridor as his main thoroughfare to travel to South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghanshire, where he committed the offences.
“He was a manipulative man who befriended elderly people, often spending hours in their homes gaining their trust. He had one goal in mind, to defraud them of their savings and benefits.
“I would advise people to thoroughly research any company or tradesman before parting with their money.”
Sharpe was told he must serve at least half of his sentence, after which he would remain on licence.
For further advice on your rights, or to report a suspicious cold caller or pressure sales person, you can call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06, text 18001 08454 14 05 06, or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk