George Johnston: Fake exterminator who used dead squirrel to trick elderly people jailed for fraud

Johnston targeted elderly and vulnerable people

Johnston would produce a dead squirrel as evidence of a pest infestation before demanding cash to clear it

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Tunbridge Wells fraudster who used a dead squirrel to trick elderly and vulnerable people into having unnecessary roof repairs has been jailed.

Rogue trader George Johnston posed as an exterminator to scam unsuspecting residents into thinking they had pest infestations in their homes, according to Kent Police.

Victims reported Johnston, formerly of Sandhurst Road, Tunbridge Wells, would sometimes produce a dead squirrel as evidence of the problem before demanding cash to clear the infestation and make repairs to properties.
The 34-year-old was arrested on 24 May 2017 after Kent Police had received a number of reports about suspicious activity in the Tunbridge Wells area.

Offences were reported between February 19 and May 20 2017, in areas including Sandhurst Road and Ferndale.

Johnston appeared before Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court on October 10, where he pleaded guilty to four offences of fraud by false representation.

He was sentenced to 360 days in prison and also ordered to pay compensation of £2,330 to the victims.

Police Constable Katie Saunders said: "Johnston targeted the elderly and vulnerable and then tricked his victims into paying for work they didn’t need.

"While he is now behind bars, communities will be protected from his scams and he should consider the impact these crimes have had on the people who thought he was an honest tradesman.

"I would like to thank the victims who helped Kent Police throughout the investigation and court process."