A fraudster who made £11,562 after scamming vulnerable Surrey residents as an unqualified locksmith has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Shaun Phasey (49) of Staines was trading as SP Locks and 24/7 Emergency Locksmith Services over a nine-month period. He quoted and subsequently completed work for five residents who paid via a chip and pin device. They later noticed much higher amounts of money had been taken from their bank accounts, most of which were in the thousands. When they contacted Phasey, he offered to refund them and never did.
He was investigated by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards following a number of complaints received.
In October 2019, Phasey agreed with His Honour Judge John to repay his victims by sentencing in return for a reduced punishment of a suspended sentence and unpaid work. Phasey did not repay a penny.
Therefore, at sentencing on Monday 27 July, Judge John said, “That is a term which ordinarily I would have the power to suspend, which you know I would have done if you had been as good as your word. But you have not been, your word is worth nothing.”
Denise Turner Stewart, Cabinet Member for Communities, said, “Not only has Mr Phasey shown total ignorance and disrespect for the justice system, he has also left vulnerable residents in a complete state of fear after despicably scamming them out of thousands of pounds.
“The work being undertaken to stop these bogus traders is a serious priority for the county council and we are determined to bring these perpetrators to justice. People like this need to be stopped and the best way we can do this is by educating ourselves and our loved ones on how to avoid becoming a victim.
“Residents can feel comfortable in the knowledge that they are employing a reputable, Trading Standards approved trader by visiting www.traders4u.co.uk. Our Trading Standards Officers are working really hard to ensure we have a variety of trades are on Traders4U so that we can keep the residents of Surrey safe.
Other advice includes:
• Double checking the amount displayed on the chip and pin machine before authorising the transaction.
• Asking for a receipt to make sure you were charged the correct amount.
• Keeping a close eye on bank statements for any unusual activity.
One of Phasey’s victims admits feelings of uncertainty and dread when leaving the home because it reminds her of the time when she locked herself out and found her trust abused by him. Phasey’s actions also caused additional stress to another victim, who was in his seventies and was recovering from cancer treatment at the time of the offence.
Compensation for his victims and confiscation of his criminal assets will be decided at a later hearing.
Find out more about scams and how to prevent them by visiting www.surreycc.gov.uk/business-and-consumers/trading-standards.