Portsmouth rogue trader to pay back £70,000

Paul Gaffney
Paul Gaffney

Flurry of suspected fraudsters targeting residents in Gosport

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A ROGUE trader will have to pay back £70,000 of the £100,000 he ripped off from people.

Paul Gaffney was jailed for nine years after he was convicted of fraud, which targeted mainly older people across Portsmouth.

Now after a 12-week financial investigation into his assets by Portsmouth City Council, he has six months to pay up.

Cllr Robert New, cabinet member for environment and community safety, said: ‘These are excellent results. I’m so pleased that the council’s trading standards service has been able to confiscate a substantial amount of the money for the victims, saving them stress of individual court actions.’

‘This joint action with the Crown Prosecution Service demonstrates how effectively we can use the Proceeds of Crimes Act (POCA) to conduct a financial investigation and compensate victims of crimes for what has been taken from them.

‘We continue to encourage residents to be wary of door-to-door callers and never agree to any work on the spot or allow the person into their home. Please do not hesitate to report concerns by calling 101.’

Gaffney, who lived in Park Grove in Cosham, was convicted of fraud in July, scamming 18 victim. After a year-long investigation led by the council and Hampshire police, he was sent to prison.

His method was to cold-call elderly and vulnerable residents on their doorsteps and dupe them into agreeing to building work that was either unnecessary or - in most cases - not done.

He even bullied some elderly customers, accompanying them to their banks to withdraw his payment.

Before agreeing to any building work, seek written estimates from at least two contractors, who are preferably in a trader approval scheme such as www.portsmouthsquaredeal.co.uk