Sweep in court for ‘planting dead pigeons in customers’ chimneys’

Two chimney sweeps planted dead birds and old nests in customers’ vents in an attempt to charge them for their removal, a court heard.

The pair are also accused of “grossly overcharging” their customers, selling them useless chimney cowls and leaving work unfinished.

Martin Price, 59, and his son Luke Price, 33, allegedly told customers they had to install the hoods to prevent birds from nesting above their chimneys, using nests and dead poultry as justification.

Luke Price dressed in a black zip-up jacket and his father, dressed in a dark gray overcoat, appeared at City of London Magistrates’ Court.

The son, from Ashford, Middlesex, and his father, from Addlestone, Surrey, are both charged with conspiring to defraud customers who booked chimney sweeping services between July 11, 2017 and April 30 2019.

Couple charged with ‘conspiracy to defraud’

They were confronted with the alleged scam of the Rogue Traders segment of the BBC’s Watchdog programme.

Both men were released on outright bail to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on December 16.

The charge against Luke Price alleges that he “conspired with Martin Price to defraud those who had booked chimney sweeping services, including behaving by charging for the removal of dead birds and bird nests that had been planted in the chimneys of their properties”.

Luke Price, of Village Way, Ashford, is facing two charges of aiding and abetting in fraudulent trading. He also faces a charge of participating in fraudulent activities carried out by an individual entrepreneur.

Martin Price, of Hare Hill, Addlestone, is also charged with fraud by false representation. He is also charged with fraud by misrepresentation of a BBC actress on March 21, 2019, further involving dead birds and nests used to justify the installation of condoms.

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