Ex-dental technician who made dentures 'a charlatan'
A former dental technician has been condemned as a "dental charlatan" for conning people in Devon and Cornwall out of money by making shoddy dentures.
Stephen Sickelmore, 52, from Dawlish, who ran The Denture Clinic from his home, admitted illegally supplying dentures at an earlier hearing.
Sickelmore was thought to have made about £200,000 from his crimes, Exeter Crown Court heard.
He was sentenced to nine months in jail, suspended for two years.
Sickelmore, of Old Gatehouse Road, had completed an apprenticeship as a dental technician when he was young, but his qualifications had expired and he was operating illegally, the court heard.
Prosecutors said many of Sickelmore's clients were housebound elderly people who were unable to visit a real dentist and that his actions in taking teeth impressions amounted to an invasion of their mouths.
He was believed to have conned about 200 people, and manufactured the dentures, which were often poor fitting, in the dirty surroundings of a laundry room in the back of his home.
Sickelmore admitted operating as an unqualified dentist and two counts of using unfair business practices.
The case came to court after an investigation by Devon Trading Standards.
Trading standards officers who raided Sickelmore's home found a makeshift laboratory in "appalling" conditions in the laundry room with no proper sterile area.
Judge Graham Cottle said Sickelmore had a "certain arrogance" in his attitude and had committed a breach of trust.
He said: "You knew you did not have the qualifications you needed to do this work."
He added: "You believed your skills and experience were such that you could carry on regardless. You saw the regulations as an inconvenient piece of bureaucracy.
"The bottom line is that you pretended to be somebody you were not.
"You had no regulation, supervision or insurance but you took money from vulnerable elderly people who you supplied with poorly fitted, poorly made dentures."
As well as the suspended jail term, he was ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid community work.