Police hunt for bogus builder found guilty of 'preying on eldery' in Ilford
PUBLISHED: 09:57 18 April 2019
A rogue trader who preyed on elderly victims in Ilford and other parts of London skipped court moments before he was convicted of fraud.
Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of 46-year-old Peter King, of Shurlock Avenue, Swanley.
He failed to appear in court on Monday (April 15) as Southwark Crown Court jurors found him guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
His 23-year-old accomplice, Albert Eastwood Jnr, pleaded guilty to the same offence on the first day of the trial.
The court heard how the pair were part of an organised crime network which targeted five victims in Ilford, Streatham and Surrey between August 2016 and February 2017.
The suspects were jailed following a joint investigation carried out by the Met's Organised Crime Command and Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards.
Det Con Stuart Robertson from the Met's Organised Crime Command said: “These two men deliberately targeted elderly homeowners in a bid to scam them out of as much money as possible.
“They preyed on vulnerable victims and even went as far as to drive some of their victims to the bank to obtain their fraudulent funds as soon as possible.
“The group carried out these audacious crimes in broad daylight, with no concern for the wellbeing or livelihoods of the individuals they were targeting.
He added: “King failed to attend court shortly after the jury retired to deliberate in this case, but has been found guilty of the offences in his absence.
The court heard that Eastwood Jnr led the scam by identifying and approaching potential victims – often elderly and vulnerable - offering to carry out unnecessary work on their properties.
The scammers would inflate the cost of work in order to obtain as much money as possible.
King - who has no building qualifications - carried out the work to a very poor standard, the court was told.
The victims were required to later have the alterations corrected by legitimate builders.
Payment for the work was usually made directly into King's account. He would then withdraw the cash from his local bank.
Eastwood Jnr, of Denton Close, Surrey, was jailed for four years.
King was sentenced to four years and six months' imprisonment in his absence.
Contact police with information on King's whereabouts on 0207 230 8176 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting crime reference 1205426/17.