Crook secretly damaged homes and then charged elderly householders to carry out repairs

Ned Gumble.
Ned Gumble.

A man who conned elderly victims out of thousands of pounds has been jailed for four years.

Ned Gumble, aged 42, of The Causeway, in Clophill, Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty to fraud in connection with 23 incidents committed across Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire and was sentenced on Friday (January 8) at St Albans Crown Court.

Between April 2012 and December 2013, he targeted elderly victims by causing damage to their properties overnight. He damaged roof tiles, front walls and on a handful of occasions he threw paint onto their driveways.

He would then attend the addresses the following day and charge the owners large sums of money to repair the damage he had caused.

These repairs were carried out to a very poor standard and he would then use this as an opportunity to convince his victims to pay for further work which they did not need.

His crimes targeted the homes of elderly people in Ampthill, Brookmans Park, Wheathampstead, Luton and St Albans.

Following an extensive operation by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s specialist investigation team, Operation Manhunt, which investigates distraction burglary, frauds and other crimes against the elderly, Gumble was arrested in January 2014.

Speaking after the court case, Det Sgt Jonathan Leak said: “Gumble deliberately targeted some of the most vulnerable members of society, preying on their trusting nature to convince them into paying for unnecessary work. I am pleased that he has been handed a substantial sentence for his deplorable behaviour.

“I hope this sends a warning to others that Operation Manhunt will leave no stone unturned to identify these types of criminals and ensure they are taken off the streets.”