Two chimney sweeps who allegedly planted dead birds in the chimneys to instruct the owners to remove them appeared in court.
Martin Price, 59, and Luke Price, 33, are both accused of conspiring to defraud clients who booked chimney sweeping services between July 2017 and April 2019 by charging them for removing dead birds and “planted” nests.
According to the charges, they also “billed for other substantial but unnecessary work, charging for work that was not completed and grossly overcharging for work believed to have been completed.”
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Martin is accused of defrauding Stella Solomons in September 2017 by telling her that he found dead birds and nests in his chimneys and that he had to do other repair work, including the installation of ten chimney hoods.
He also allegedly defrauded a BBC actress in March 2019 by telling her that a dead bird and two bird nests had been found in the chimney flue of her property, and that it was necessary to install hoods to prevent new nesting.
His son Luke is charged with two counts of aiding and abetting fraudulent transactions between July 2017 and April 2019.
The first charge relates to assisting his father Martin with a fraudulent “Complete Chimney Care” business and the second relates to a company called “Premier Chimney Care Limited”.
Luke is further accused of having participated in a fraudulent company, “Premium Installations and London Chimney Specialists” between March 2018 and April 2019.
The couple, who are being sued by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, appeared in Westminster Magistrates’ Court but heard their case was too serious to be dealt with there.
They will register their pleadings at Isleworth Crown Court in January.
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District Judge Richard Hargood said: “You are charged with an alleged conspiracy – because you are charged with this type of alleged offense, the district court does not have the power to try you, the only power. that I have is to send you both before the crown.
“There are other topics that are related. They will also go with the plot [to the crown court]. “
Luke Price, of Ashford, Surrey, is charged with Conspiracy to Fraud, two counts of aiding and abetting a fraudulent business and participating in a fraudulent business.
Martin Price, of Addlestone, Surrey, is charged with Conspiracy to Defraud and Two Counts of False Statement Fraud.
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