Traders prosecuted for fraud
This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.
DPDS Leaflet Distribution Ltd owner Denise Presland, 50, of Tower Road South, Warmley and her son, Darren Presland, 28, of Hill View, Soundwell admitted the fraud offences when they appeared in court on November 23. Manager Laurence Brown, 49, of Travers Close, Bristol also pleaded guilty to fraud at a hearing on November 29.
The case was brought by trading standards officers at South Gloucestershire Council. The charges date back as far as January 2005 and relate to DPDS Leaflet Distribution Ltd in Douglas Road, Kingswood intentionally failing to deliver some or all of the various promotional materials that hundreds of their customers had paid to be distributed.
The charges also relate to another leaflet distribution business they ran from the same address called Lo-Cost Leaflet Distribution Ltd, which Darren Presland was the director of. Both businesses traded nationwide and had a large customer base.
We were first alerted to the company’s activities after a large amount of complaints were received – from Scotland down to Devon – from a variety of customers including estate agents, takeaways and restaurants, local interest groups and even a church. All complained that they had paid to have from as little as a few hundred to over 100,000 leaflets distributed, but had seen no evidence that this had taken place.
In May 2011 officers from trading standards and the police raided the business premises at the Douglas Road Industrial Park and Mrs Presland’s home address in Warmley. All three defendants were arrested and an investigation began.
Neil Derrick, senior enforcement officer at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “During this large scale investigation, we identified more than 200 victims who had paid in excess of £200,000 to DPDS and Lo-Cost, excluding their printing costs. It is possible that many more of their customers may have fallen victim to these practices, but they may not even know it, putting their lack of response down to poor marketing or the economy.
“What’s more, their selfish actions may have affected the chances of new and established businesses trying to survive in the current economic climate as they may have lost out on potential business to these fraudulent traders.”
All three defendants are due to be sentenced on Monday 7 January 2013 at Bristol Crown Court. Proceedings to recover assets accrued from their criminal behaviour have also begun under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
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