Northamptonshire removals company owner jailed for fraud
A Northamptonshire removals company owner who took money for jobs he failed to carry out and spent the cash on clothes and cocaine has been jailed.
Jeffrey Hayward, 35, who started his removals business with a grant from the Prince's Trust, took more than £15,000 for removals he did not complete.
Northampton Crown Court heard he would tell his customers his children or girlfriend were in hospital.
Hayward, who admitted fraud in June, was given an 18-month prison term.
He admitted to police that he used various company names and provided low quotes on websites used by people looking for help with their move.
His victims were based in Coventry, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.'Bare-faced lies'
Over a 10-month period up to November 2010, 23 people complained about him and the company.
Emilie Pottle, prosecuting, said: "The defendant must have known that he would not be able to complete these moves yet he kept bidding and he would insist on full payment."
Customers were incorrectly told he was member of the British Association of Removals and the Road Haulage Association, and that he was covered by insurance which he did not have.
Ms Pottle said he would tell "bare-faced lies" to customers who phoned him when he failed to turn up on moving day.
He used the excuses that his van had been vandalised, his son was in intensive care or that his daughter had been knocked over by a car, the court heard.
Ms Pottle said: "In interview he admitted he had no intention of carrying out the moves. He had spent it on clothes, his lifestyle and cocaine."
David Everett, for Hayward, said his client had problems with his relationship and with cocaine.
Judge Lynn Tayton said: "It's a well-known fact that moving is one of the most stressful undertakings.
"To find that you don't have a removals van on moving day would have had a significant effect."
She said it had been repeat offending with multiple victims.