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Gang jailed for massive fraud across West Sussex

A sewage fraud gang that struck at victims at Steyning, Upper Beeding and Crawley has been jailed.

Crooks conned people into buying specialist sewage treatment equipment after convincing people they were to blame for sewage leaking on to the property of neighbours.

The gang struck in 25 towns and villages from West and East Sussex to as far west as Devon.

Their network of organised criminals netted £310,000, but was caught after an investigation by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit. They have been sentenced to a combined total of more than 18 years in jail for fraud and money laundering.

The fraud offences involved a total of 34 victims.

Operation Knock investigated incidents between October 2013 and September 2014 where victims had been told that their neighbours’ property had been flooded with raw sewage originating from under their property. The victims were told that they needed to hire specialist equipment to resolve the issue and to pay a deposit which would then be refunded.

Lead investigator DC Matt Wilson said: “Friday’s sentences reflect the nature of the offences this sophisticated network took part in by intentionally targeting the most vulnerable people.”This should act as a deterrent to anyone else tempted to earn some extra money by turning a blind eye to these crimes, we will investigate and bring them before the court.”

At the sentencing hearing at Lewes Crown Court George Wickens Junior, aged 24, of Iveagh Crescent, Newhaven, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and six years’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime, to run concurrently.

George Wickens, aged 52, of Batts Bridge Road, Maresfield, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to commit fraud.James Cavanagh, aged 25, of Parklands, Maresfield, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and 30 months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime, to run concurrently. He was also sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for money laundering, to run consecutively.

Daryl Hayley, aged 23, of Beeches Way, Faygate, received a six months’ suspended sentence and 80 hours unpaid labour for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime.

Paul Bryson, aged 24, of Old Farm Close, Haywards Heath, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime.

Alfie Robinson, aged 23, of Chanctonbury Road, Burgess Hill, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime and six months’ imprisonment for breach of a suspended sentences, to run consecutively.

Martin Jones, aged 26, of Newbury Road, Crawley, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime and six months’ imprisonment for breach of a suspended sentences, to run consecutively.

Lee Farrington, aged 22, of Churchill Road, Lewes, was sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime and 14 months’ imprisonment for a second count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime, to run concurrently.

Martin Suckling, aged 52, of Churchill Road, Smallfield, near Horley, was sentenced to two years for each of the three counts of acquiring criminal property, to run concurrently.

Angelia Wickens, aged 31, of Parklands, Maresfield, received a six months suspended sentence for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime.

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