DPDS Leaflet Distribution Ltd scam trio spared jail
Three people including a mother and son who admitted cheating more than 200 businesses out of hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spared jail.
Bristol Crown Court was told Kingswood-based DPDS Leaflet Distribution Ltd had failed to deliver promotional material which their customers had paid for.
Denise Presland, 50, Darren Presland, 28, and manager Laurence Brown, 49, had pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading.
All three were given suspended sentences by Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC.
Sentencing Denise Presland, of Tower Road South in Warmley, to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months, Judge Mercer told her she had "just just" avoided going straight to jail.
He made a £250,000 confiscation order against her and she was told to pay £40,000 in costs.
Darren Presland, of Hill View, Soundwell, and Brown, of Travers Close, Bristol, were both jailed for six months, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.
The case was brought by South Gloucestershire trading standard officers who raided the company's offices on the Douglas Trading Estate in May 2011.
Speaking outside court spokesman Neil Derrick said Monday's hearing concluded 18 months of investigation and nearly 4,000 pages of evidence.
"This has been a very large-scale scam and we don't know what damage it has done to people financially.
"Lots of people didn't know it had happened [to them] so didn't complain.
"Crime doesn't pay... [there's] a huge confiscation order against Denise Presland and she'll have to pay that very quickly otherwise risk going to prison and still having to pay it."
One of the victims, Stuart Jackson, said he had used the company to distribute 10,000 leaflets around Swindon to publicise his new pet care business, Karma Pets, and paid the company £800.
He said the leaflets had never been delivered and he had been left out of pocket as a result.
"I feel like they're like thieves because they've taken advantage of me as a small business and I'm very aggrieved," he said.