William Eastwood custody photo
William Eastwood custody photo, courtesy of Essex Police

An investigation by Havering Council’s Trading Standards team has led to the successful prosecution of two men who targeted elderly Havering residents.

Working with the Essex Police Economic Crime Team, the Trading Standards team collected evidence for the Havering residents that were targeted that proved Mr William Eastwood, 31, of Chelmsford Road, Wickford, and Mr Jack Harbour, 31, of Wellstye Green, Basildon, had fleeced victims out of tens of thousands of pounds.

There were four victims - three from Havering and one from Essex.

The fraud convictions were secured after they made unsolicited approaches to the vulnerable victims and convinced them that their homes required work to be undertaken.

The work would often start straight away and the victims were then charged grossly inflated prices.

The works were examined by a surveyor and found to be overpriced, unneeded and poorly done.

The sentencing took place on Monday 20 March 2023 at Southend Crown Court.

After entering a guilty plea for fraud by false representation, Eastwood was sentenced to three years and two months in prison. 

Mr Harbour was given a 14 month sentence, suspended for 2 years. He will be required to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and will also be the subject of an electronic curfew for three months as a condition of his sentence.

Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of Havering Council, said:

“This is further evidence of the outstanding results our Trading Standards team continue to achieve, working closely with the Police.

“Our aim is keep our residents safe and informed. The Buy With Confidence scheme helps Havering residents find trading standards approved traders and local businesses and hopefully, reduce the opportunities for criminals like this to target our elderly and vulnerable.”

Detective Sergeant Rachel Barrett from Essex Police Economic Crime Unit said:

“This is a fantastic result and removing one rogue trader from the community and having stringent conditions placed on another has undoubtedly prevented further vulnerable people from people scammed.

“Fraudsters and con artists such as these manipulate and persuade victims into doing something and can target absolutely anyone.”

Essex Police work closely with Action Fraud and Trading Standards and have recently launched the short scams awareness online sessions, so the public can learn how to protect themselves.

Published: 30 March 2023