Two men who scammed people moving home and belongings out of thousands of pounds have been brought to justice by Islington Council.
Mr Alexander Robert Linley-Sharman and Mr Jacob David Littlestone, directors of removal company My Move, both pleaded guilty to eight counts of unfair commercial trading practices at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday, 8 August 2022.
They both received sentences of two years at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Tuesday, 26 September 2023.
Mr Linley-Sharman received an extra year in prison for perverting the course of justice, after he failed to appear for trial in person, claiming he had Covid-19.
When asked to provide proof, he submitted a fake NHS self-isolation letter, which was later proved to be false by Islington Council.
The prosecution comes after an investigation by the council’s Trading Standards team, which was triggered after the council received 19 complaints about My Move Group Ltd.
The company was registered to a virtual office in Islington.
The removal men refused to unload customers’ belongings from their van unless they paid far more than the quoted cost.
One victim was initially quoted £200 and then had to pay £2,000. Another paid £6,000 after being quoted around £300.
If the customers objected to paying more than the agreed price, they were told that their belongings would be put into storage and that they would be charged an additional £500 per night until payment was received.
Some customers were also forced to pay for fake parking tickets and ‘bus lane contraventions’.
Only one parking ticket was real.
The defendants charged the customer £120, despite only paying £60 for the fine, as it was within 14 days.
The pair also admitted to falsely claiming their company had been endorsed by Costco and British Heart Foundation.
This seemed to be an attempt to boost customer confidence in their business by pretending to have worked with well-known organisations.
Cllr John Woolf, Executive Member for Community Safety, said: “Our community must be able to trust Islington’s brilliant small businesses which keep our local economy thriving.
“Any business owners who undermine that public trust by acting dishonestly or criminally should be warned that we will take robust action.
“Thanks to the tenacity of our Trading Standards and Legal Services teams, these culprits have been brought to justice.”
Anyone who would like to alert Trading Standards and share information we should know can use the reporting line in confidence.