Trading Standards welcome prosecution of Telford company boss
Trading standards officers have welcomed a jail sentence for the owner of a Telford company which defrauded elderly and vulnerable customers.
Telford & Wrekin Council's trading standards team had led the investigation into Walk In Baths and Showers, based in Hortonwood.
The company provided the items primarily for the elderly or those with disabilities.
At Stafford Crown Court company director Michael John Lydon-Jenkins and general manager Teresa Dawn Browne both admitted nine charges of fraud.
The company also admitted five offences of fraud.
The case centred on the company defrauding a series of customers by refusing to return deposits when they were requested during the legal cooling-off period.
In total nine customers were denied more than £20,500 in refunds they were legally entitled to. The money has subsequently been paid back.
Lydon-Jenkins, 71, from Halesfield in Telford, was jailed for 26 months.
Browne, of The Rock, Telford, was given a 21-month sentence, suspended for two years. As part of her sentence Browne will also have to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £5,000 costs.
The company was also fined £27,000 and ordered to pay costs of £40,000.
Anita Hunt, trading standards manager at Telford & Wrekin Council said she hoped the case will serve as a warning to others tempted to defraud customers.
She said: “We welcome the sentences. I hope Mr Lydon Jenkins and Ms Browne reflect on their dishonest actions and the effect it has had on the victims and their families.
"The sentences reflect the seriousness of the fraud offences and that this case is not only about financial loss but the psychological effect it has had on their victims.
"This has been a lengthy investigation with Telford & Wrekin Trading Standards whose priority it is to protect the public, particularly those who are vulnerable.
"I hope this case sends out a warning to others who think they can defraud the public of their well earned money for their own financial gain.”
Sentencing Lydon-Jenkins, Judge Jonathan Salmon said: “I am entirely satisfied you were the clear driving force behind the institution of this dishonest policy in the company.
"You were aided by enthusiastic support from Miss Browne but she was relatively young in the company and it is clear she looked to you for guidance and it is clear you encouraged her to look for ways to act dishonestly.
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