Ten more people charged with fraud after prolific drain scam

Police news.
Police news.

A further ten people have been charged with fraud and money laundering offences after 34 victims across the UK, including in Eastbourne and Pevensey, were conned out of more than £300,000 in a drainage scam.

The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) has charged a further 10 people in relation to Operation Knock, which happened between October 2013 and April 2014, and saw victims being told their neighbours’ property had been flooded with raw sewage originating from under their property. They were told it required specialist equipment to be hired and that they needed to pay a returnable deposit.

George Wickens, aged 51, of Batts Bridge Road, Maresfield and James Cavanagh, aged 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, aged 21, of Churchill Road, Lewes; Paul Bryson, aged 24, of Old Farm Close, Haywards Heath; Alfie Robinson, aged 22, of Chanctonbury Road, Burgess Hill; Daryl Hayley, aged 22, of Beeches Way, Faygate; Martin Jones, aged 25, of Newbury Road, Crawley and Angelia Wickens, aged 30, of Parklands, Maresfield were all charged with conspiracy to conceal, disguise, convert, transfer or remove criminal property.

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

Jessica Bryson, aged 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 first person, George Wickens, 23, Iveagh Crescent, Newhaven was charged on February 24. He appeared at Brighton Magistrates Court on February 25 and was remanded in custody until April 30, 2015.

The scam was most prolific in Sussex, with victims coming from 11 areas within the county, including Eastbourne and Pevensey. Victims were also targeted in Surrey, Hertfordshire, Devon and London.

For further updates, please visit the SEROCU website http://www.serocu.org.uk/31/section.aspx/21/10_further_people_charged_with_fraud_offences_as_part_of_operation_knock.