Ian Baggs has now been sentenced to prison for his role in a scam which involved charging victims for bogus work to drains at their properties. The scam saw victims initially either contacted by telephone or at their doorsteps, amid claims the local council would need to send contractors to their homes to carry out urgent repairs or remove blockages.
A person would then later attend the address demanding a deposit for machine parts being placed down the drains. Between 13 and 16 January 2020, victims aged in their 80s and 90s were duped into handing over bank cards, which Baggs claimed he would process through a chip and pin machine in a van. One woman was also tricked into writing cheques for almost £10,000.
Baggs, aged 41 and of no fixed address, was arrested on 22 April 2020, after an investigation revealed the cheques had been cashed into his own bank account. CCTV images showed him using victims’ bank cards at shops and cash machines and phone records also linked his mobile device to calls made to their homes.
He pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court to five counts of fraud by false representation. A further 19 offences, mainly in areas of Sussex and Surry and carried out over January and February 2020, were also taken into consideration. Baggs was sentenced on Tuesday 3 August 2021 to three years’ imprisonment.
Leading the investigation was Detective Constable Matt Thomas, of West Kent CID, who said: ‘Baggs was involved in a widespread scam with other criminals, which very deliberately targeted elderly and vulnerable victims. The impact of this type of crime cannot be understated; it is simply devastating to those who have not only suffered a significant financial loss but have to also endure the stress and upset of being targeted in such a callous way.
‘Whist Baggs is now rightly starting a prison sentence, it is important residents remain vigilant to how offenders like him operate. Remember, a council worker will never ask a member of the public for money or any of their bank details, either over the phone or in person. If you receive a suspicious phone call end it immediately. Wait at least five minutes before using your telephone in order to clear your line and then call the police.’