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Rogue builders jailed

A TEAM of rogue builders who targetted elderly and vulnerable householders in Kent and London conned their victims out of about £800,000, a court heard.

Ringleader William Smith, 43, of Carlton Avenue, Greenhithe, pressured, intimidated and frightened his victims in a "despicable quest to relieve vulnerable people of as much money as possible", said Judge Michael O’Sullivan.

Smith showed no mercy to his victims and deserved more than the eight years four months passed on him at Canterbury Crown Court, the judge said. Smith's son Billy, 21, of Green Street Green Road, Dartford, was jailed for 36 months for his part in the scam.

An unqualified builder, William Smith’s work was said to be shoddy, substandard, often just cosmetic and unnecessary and sometimes not done at all. His charges were extortionate - a 46-year-old Margate man with learning difficulties paying £75,000 and a vulnerable Dartford man losing £101,500.

In all 43 households in Dartford, Gravesend, Hartley, Chatham, Tunbridge Wells, Thanet and London fell victim in a cold-calling operation between January 2003 and September 2007.

Smith admitted conspiracy, while his his son, who he is said to have criminalised, admitted money laundering, attempted deception and fraud. Also jailed for four and a half years was Timothy Killick, 35, of Stagshaw Close, Maidstone whose company Smith used to launder cheques and who wrote out invoices for the illiterate Smith.

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