Conman sold £30 mattresses to Derbyshire pensioners for £300 each
A MOBILITY aid salesman who conned vulnerable people, including Derbyshire pensioners, out of £50,000 is due to be sentenced today.
Darren Sharpe conned his 35 victims, many of whom were elderly or disabled, by working under the company name of Ideal Mobility Solutions.
He mainly mis-sold ordinary mattress covers that he claimed had health benefits for ailments such as bad backs and stiff joints.
They were sold for up to £300 each when they were only worth about £30.
A pensioner in Sunny Hill and an elderly woman in Quarndon paid out £300 each for mattress covers, which were not even delivered.
DC Jennifer Brocksopp, who helped investigate the case, said: "He targeted elderly victims to gain a lot for himself. Victims were distraught that they had been tricked or felt silly for believing this man."
Sharpe, 42, also sold mobility aids such as scooters and stair lifts at an inflated price or did not deliver the goods, while unauthorised transactions from credit cards were taken as part of the scam.
George Withnall, 81, and his 78-year-old wife, Patricia, from Long Eaton, bought a bed from Sharpe in March 2011 at a cost of £1,545.
Their old bed was taken away but the new bed was not what they ordered and was very uncomfortable. They complained but got neither a refund nor their old bed back.
Mr Withnall has arthritis and two crushed vertebrae, while his wife suffers from Parkinson's Disease, thyroid and heart problems.
Mr Withnall said: "The salesman had the gift of the gab and was very forceful. He made out the bed would help cure my back problems.
"The money we spent on the bed was a large part of our savings and as pensioners we could have done a lot with this money. It felt like the earth fell beneath us when we realised we were not going to be getting our money back."
Sharpe, of The Park, Mansfield, has admitted participating in a fraudulent business between January and April 2011 and fraudulent trading dating from April 2011 to January last year.
He also pleaded guilty to nine offences of fraud put to him by Derbyshire police and five fraud offences put by South Yorkshire police.
Derbyshire and South Yorkshire police worked alongside Nottinghamshire County Council's Trading Standards, which instigated the investigation. He will be sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court.