Drain fraud investigation uncovers 34 victims

Sussex Police
Sussex Police
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HOUSEHOLDERS in Sompting were among 34 victims in a £300,000 drain fraud case.

Between October 2013 and April 2014, householders across the south were told their neighbours’ property had been flooded with raw sewage originating from under their property.

They were told by conmen that this required specialist equipment to be hired and they needed to pay a returnable deposit.

A total of 11 people have been charged with offences relating to 34 victims, in which more than £300,000 was taken.

The first, George Wickens, 23, of Iveagh Crescent, Newhaven, was charged on February 24. He appeared at Brighton Magistrates Court the next day and was remanded in custody until April 30.

The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) has today announced a further ten people have been charged with fraud and money laundering offences as part of Operation Knock.

George Wickens, 51, of Batts Bridge Road, Maresfield, and James Cavanagh, 24, of Parklands, Maresfield, were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove criminal property.

Lee Farrington, 21, of Churchill Road, Lewes; Paul Bryson, 24, of Old Farm Close, Haywards Heath; Alfie Robinson, 22, of Chanctonbury Road, Burgess Hill; Daryl Hayley, 22, of Beeches Way, Faygate; Martin Jones, 25, of Newbury Road, Crawley, and Angelia Wickens, 30, of Parklands, Maresfield, were all charged with conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove criminal property.

Martin Suckling, 49, of Churchill Road, Smallfield, was charged with three counts of acquiring criminal property.

Jessica Bryson, 20, of Old Farm Close, Haywards Heath, was charged with two counts of acquiring criminal property.

All have been bailed to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court on March 26.

The incidents took place across Surrey, Sussex, Hertfordshire, Devon and London.