Maresfield trio among network of criminals sentenced on Friday

Three people from Maresfield were among a network of criminals sentenced on Friday following a fraud investigation. Uckfield was among locations targeted by the gang in the South East, and as far afield as Devon.

Police said ten people admitted, or were found guilty of, a variety of fraud and money laundering offences and were sentenced at Lewes Crown Court.

They said fraud offences in excess of £310,000, and affecting 34 victims, were unravelled in an investigation by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit.

The ten included three people from Maresfield:

  • George Wickens, aged 52, of Batts Bridge Road, Maresfield, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to commit fraud.
  • James Cavanagh, aged 25, of Parklands, Maresfield, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and 30 months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime, to run concurrently. He was also sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for money laundering, to run consecutively.
  • Angelia Wickens, aged 31, of Parklands, Maresfield, received a six months suspended sentence for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime.

Others were:

  • George Wickens Junior, aged 24, of Iveagh Crescent, Newhaven, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and six years’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime, to run concurrently.
  • Daryl Hayley, aged 23, of Beeches Way, Faygate, received a six months’ suspended sentence and 80 hours unpaid labour for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime.
  • Paul Bryson, aged 24, of Old Farm Close, Haywards Heath, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime.
  • Alfie Robinson, aged 23, of Chanctonbury Road, Burgess Hill, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime and six months’ imprisonment for breach of a suspended sentences, to run consecutively.
  • Martin Jones, aged 26, of Newbury Road, Crawley, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime and six months’ imprisonment for breach of a suspended sentences, to run consecutively.
  • Lee Farrington, aged 22, of Churchill Road, Lewes, was sentenced to 14 months’ imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime and 14 months’ imprisonment for a second count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime, to run concurrently.
  • Martin Suckling, aged 52, of Churchill Road, Smallfield, was sentenced to two years for each of the three counts of acquiring criminal property, to run concurrently.

Operation Knock investigated incidents between October 2013 and September 2014 whereby victims were told their neighbours’ property had been flooded with raw sewage originating from under their property.

Police said the victims were told they needed to hire specialist equipment to resolve the issue and to pay a deposit which would then be refunded.

Lead investigator DC Matt Wilson from the regional fraud team said: “Friday’s sentences reflect the nature of the offences this sophisticated network took part in by intentionally targeting the most vulnerable people.

“This should act as a deterrent to anyone else tempted to earn some extra money by turning a blind eye to these crimes. We will investigate and bring them before the court.”

The crimes took place in Surrey, Sussex – including Uckfield, Cooksbridge, Southwick, Burgess Hill, Brighton, Upper Beeding, Crawley, Pevensey, Eastbourne, Sompting and Steyning – Hertfordshire, Devon and London.

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