News item

Rogue traders who preyed on elderly sentenced after joint investigation

Three family members have been sentenced to a total of over 110 months in prison for a catalogue of fraud offences against elderly victims across Greater Manchester.

In a joint investigation conducted by Stockport trading standards and Greater Manchester Police, Stephen Andrew O'Donnell, Steven Paul O'Donnell and Michael O'Donnell pleaded guilty to offences dating back over two years.

Between 1 March 2010 and 31 August 2012, the family members defrauded their victims, who were aged between 56 and 95, out of more than £22,000.

On 24 March 2010 the fraudsters attended the home of an 86-year-old man and offered to carry out some gardening maintenance. They agreed to rebuild a front wall, cut down some trees and tidy the gardens. In total £3,365 was handed over for work which was carried out to a very poor standard and when a chartered surveyor assessed the work he valued it at £520.

On another occasion, a 63-year-old man was told his garage was not safe and required work. The home owner paid £2,200 for the work which was never completed.

Stockport Trading Standards attended each of the victims' homes to report on the standard of the work carried out.

The police eventually tracked down the men after tracing their vans, their company names, victim identification and fingerprint analysis of the receipts and leaflets  left at their victim’s addresses, despite the fraudsters  using false names and changing company details on a regular basis to avoid detection.

DC Peter Slater from Ashton-under-Lyne INPT, said: “Today’s result is the culmination of years of hard work between officers from Greater Manchester Police and Stockport Trading Standards.

“These three men targeted their elderly victims and performed unnecessary and grossly overpriced garden maintenance. Some of the victim’s stories about the standards of work undertaken by the O’Donnells and their behaviour are simply shocking.

“They used bullying behaviour to persuade their victims to have unnecessary work carried out. On a few occasions they drove their vulnerable victims to the bank to withdraw large amounts of money which they handed over for work that was never carried out.

“It has been a long and drawn out process, but we have finally got justice for the victims.”

If you want advice on your rights as a consumer or wish to report a rogue trader incident call Citizens Advice on 08454 04 05 06 or visit”


DATE: 22 November 2013