Officers from Cumbria Police caught a doorstep fraudster who targeted a vulnerable older man – after installing a covert camera to protect the victim and gather evidence.
Levi Lowther, 23, was captured on video at the man’s home in north Cumbria, where he had turned up uninvited and charged hundreds of pounds for work he had not been asked to do.
The camera had been installed because the victim, aged in his eighties, had previously been a victim of fraud and there were fears he could be again.
The tactic paid off, keeping safe the man who was targeted and providing evidence to help the case.
Lowther, of Hospital Road, Annan, was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment at Carlisle Crown Court today after admitting fraud by false representation.
On April 3 2018, Lowther visited the man and said he had carried out work including cleaning external walls.
The work had not been discussed with the man. He was unaware it was being carried out and there was no sign of the work having been done.
The man agreed to have the money ready at a later date.
Lowther came back on April 7 and asked for the cash. The money was never handed over and the victim called police.
Detective Constable Rebecca Fox was the officer overseeing the case. Speaking after the sentencing, she said: “Lowther callously targeted an older and vulnerable person in this fraud.
“We take this type of offence extremely seriously as we know the impact it can have on victims and the worry and fear it causes for both them and their families.
“On this occasion, by using this tactic, we were able to stop this fraud before it got to the point where the victim handed over any money.
“It shows fraud does not have to lead to a loss of money before we act – and also demonstrates how we have a range of methods to stop people who seek to exploit the more vulnerable in society to line their own pockets.
“Cold-calling fraudsters who are thinking of targeting people in Cumbria should take note of this and think again.”
DC Fox added: “We would like to take this opportunity to remind people there are some simple steps they can take to protect themselves against any door-to-door fraud or crime.
“If anyone knocks at your door carrying out door-to-door selling activities, please ensure that they have identification, a contact telephone number for their head office and a registered business or charity number.
“If anyone has any doubts of the credibility of any doorstep seller then they are not to engage with them and politely decline their business.”