Crooked salesman jailed for two years

A CROOKED salesman who swindled old and vulnerable people out of their savings by promising them specialist beds has been branded evil. Demetriades Demetriou took the money from his victims, promising them that they would soon be the owners of beds and ch

A CROOKED salesman who swindled old and vulnerable people out of their savings by promising them specialist beds has been branded evil.

Demetriades Demetriou took the money from his victims, promising them that they would soon be the owners of beds and chairs that would help alleviate health problems.

But instead the money, which often came out of much needed savings, went straight into his pocket to help fund his gambling.

At Luton Crown Court today (Friday), Demetriou, 68, admitted seven counts of obtaining property by deception and four counts of dishonestly making false representations.

The court was told he had been working as a salesman on a self employed basis for a company in Leeds involved in the supply of orthopaedic beds and chairs.

It was his job to follow up leads supplied to him and visit people in their homes to sell them the equipment.

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But, Recorder Michael Curwen was told, he would use the visits to steal their money.

By making promises that he could get products to them quicker and cheaper, he would persuade the old and often vulnerable people to hand over cash.

William McGivern, prosecuting, said if people couldn't come up with the amount, he would see just how much he could get out of them.

In some cases, he even drove victims to their banks so they could draw out the cash for him.

In all his dealings with his victims, Demetriou assured them the specialist beds and chairs would soon be with them but, once he had their money, nothing arrived and they didn't see him again.

The charges in court represent 13 victims who lost a total of over £20,267 to Demetriou.

Over 14 months from March 2006 he conned people across eastern England.

The court was told that it was likely there were more victims who had still not been identified.

Demetriou, who at the time of the offences was living in Broom Hall, High Street, Broom, appeared in court as a result of a joint prosecution by police and trading standards officers from Beds County Council.

One of his victims, a retired nurse, had handed him £4,992.

Dominic Lewis, who represented the Trading Standards Department, said the money handed to Demetriou had come from people's savings and pensions and was money they could ill afford to lose.

When arrested, Demetriou told police he had a gambling habit.

The court heard he had previous convictions for deception and theft.

Mr Lewis said unfortunately an investigation of the defendant's financial circumstances showed there was no money available that could be paid back to his victims.

Jack Talbot, defending, said: "Clearly he was in the grip of a deeply entrenched gambling addiction."

He said all the money had been "frittered" away.

Mr Talbot said his client had suffered from a gambling addiction since the age of 15 and it had affected his entire adult life.

His marriage had finished because of it and the court was told he is now living in sheltered accommodation in Southend Close, Stevenage.

Mr Talbot said Demetriou had attended Gamblers Anonymous in the past and had twice suffered relapses and fallen into his old habits gambling the money in casinos.

Passing sentence, Recorder Curwen told Demetriou "You are an evil man."

He told him he had been put in a position of trust by his employers, but had abused it to take advantage of vulnerable people and to see if he could "turn a buck" for himself.

He jailed Demetriou for two years.

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