Mid Wales

Powys man, 90, lost £30,000 savings to to scammers

Three men have received custodial sentences for conning a 90-year-old man of his £30,000 life savings.

John Pullen, who has since died, told police the crime had a profound effect on him, Merthyr Crown Court heard.

Danny Warner, 40, his nephew Sean Warner, 21, of Leominster, and Adam Park, 20, of Hereford, admitted conspiracy to blackmail.

Danny Warner was given three years' jail, Sean Warner 27 months and Park 18 months in a young offenders' institute.

They forged letters and faked calls from solicitors saying Mr Pullen, of Llandrindod Wells, Powys, was liable for toxic waste in his garden.

In his victim impact statement Mr Pullen said: "This has had a profound effect on me as I worked hard all my life and I purchased premium bonds to be comfortable in my retirement.

"They left me in a situation where I felt I may have to sell my house and I am very hurt by this.

"It has had a profound effect on my health and well-being and I've had a couple of strokes and a heart attack."

The court heard the three men called at his home in 2008.

Richard Ace, prosecuting, said the men offered to remove old gardening equipment and weed killers from his garage.

Mr Ace said: "They later told Mr Pullen he was liable for costs of clearing toxic waste.

"The gang forged letters and telephone calls pretending to be solicitors.

"It was a scam to get him to part with large sums of his savings - he then had to cash in £26,000 of premium bonds."

Preyed upon

The court heard that Mr Pullen went to police after believing he would have to sell his home to keep paying the gang's demands.

The court heard he was relieved when they were arrested but died of natural causes before seeing them brought to justice.

Judge John Curran told the men they had carried out a "wicked scam."

"You realised you were dealing with an elderly man who lived alone and possibly had some money in the bank," he added.

"You decided to pick upon him and prey upon him.

"He was told a series of complex lies - all of this was calculated to frighten an old man living alone.

"You milked him of his entire life savings."

The three will return to court for a proceeds of crime application.