News item

Jail for cold caller who targeted elderly householders

A ‘wicked’ rogue trader who conned elderly people into paying for unnecessary work has been jailed for 12 months.

George Thomas Humberstone persuaded elderly and vulnerable victims to have unnecessary roofing work done.

He also failed to notify them that they were entitled to a seven day cooling off period. The father-of-four, trading as Dryfix, was reported to Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards team by a neighbour concerned about their neighbour having work done in Cannock.

Trading Standards’ Emergency Response Team were drafted in alongside Staffordshire Police.

Humberstone, aged 30, of Cleese Caravan Park, Walsall Road, Great Wyrley, was arrested and an investigation into trading activities took place. Two similar incidents came to light in the Tamworth area as a result.
At Stafford Crown Court on Thursday he was sentenced to 12 months jail.

His Honour Judge Eades, said offences were deliberate and calculated, adding: “Mr Humberstone was cold calling and quite clearly preying on the elderly and vulnerable and putting the fear of God into them.
“It is hoped that a custodial sentence will prevent Mr Humberstone from committing these type of offences again.”

Humberstone was already known to trading standards and had previously been prosecuted by the council for similar offences in May 2011.

Councillor, Pat Corfield, cabinet member for communities, said: “We’re very pleased that this case has ended in a successful prosecution.
“What Mr Humberstone did was truly wicked, praying on the most vulnerable in our communities.
“The sentence passed by the judge sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate this kind of criminal behaviour and I’d like to commend our Trading Standards team for its work in bringing Mr Humberstone to justice.
“It is one of the county council’s priorities to help people to feel safer in their homes and make Staffordshire a place which is increasingly free of crime and the fear of crime.”