TWO Bradford men have been jailed and another from Gloucester given a suspended sentence after targeting an elderly and vulnerable pensioner in the Scarborough area and attempting to defraud him of £16,750 for alleged works to his property.

Even when building society staff challenged them, the gang produced forged documents to try to justify their bills.

The case unfolded due to an investigation launched in December 2019, when a relative was present in the victim’s house as the men called him to ask for money.

She reported the incident to police, who referred the case to Operation Gauntlet, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Team hosted at North Yorkshire County Council Trading Standards.

Handwritten notes were found in the victim’s house including the name ‘Mohammed Fiaz’ and the bank account details of Ahmed Motara. Notes also referred to ‘roof’ and ‘camera’, but no works undertaken by the men could be identified at the property.

The victim was hounded by the offenders with demands for payment, with 37 calls made to his landline number.

Vigilance from the Nationwide and Skipton Building Societies prevented the fraud, which could have cost the victim £16,750.

Shuraih Bham, 33, of Ivywood Court, Bradford, and Mohammed Fiaz Askar, 39, of Cumberland Road, Bradford, pleaded guilty at York Crown Court to charges of conspiracy to defraud.

Ahmed Motara, 23, of Furlong Road, Gloucester, admitted a charge of attempted money laundering.

The Recorder of York, His Honour Judge Morris sentenced Bham to 18 months in prison and Askar to 21 months in prison.

Motara was handed an 11 months prison sentence suspended for one year and ordered to undertake 300 hours' unpaid work.

Sentencing Bham and Fiaz Askar, His Honour Judge Morris said: “People in the twilight of their years are entitled to see out their time in peace and dignity and not to be ripped off by a couple of thieves like you.”

He added to Bham: “You met and hoodwinked this vulnerable gentleman. But due to the commendable vigilance of the Nationwide it was spotted and they are to be congratulated. Fortunately, the cheques were never cashed.”

County Councillor Derek Bastiman, Executive Member for Trading Standards, said: “This was an appalling case where a very elderly male with memory issues was hounded by these defendants for a number of weeks, with repeated demands for money. These defendants represent the lowest of the low and their behaviour will shock ordinary, law-abiding residents."