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Essex Police have charged seven people over their part in a £1 million fraud in which they are alleged to have conned elderly victims in the Clacton area out of their savings.
16 people were arrested in Epping, Colchester and Clacton yesterday (Tuesday 25 June) and police believe nearly 40 vulnerable victims, aged between 65 and 99, suffered as the result of a long-running scam.
Seven people were charged last night with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation between 2009 and 2013.
The charges relate to work carried out on victims' homes at inflated prices.
Unemployed William Brown, 48, of Friday Wood Green, Colchester, and company director James Brown, 20, of Oak Road, Tiptree, have also been charged with one count of blackmail and one count of conspiracy to conceal criminal property.
Unemployed Peter Biddle, 66, of Bromley Road, Ardleigh; builder Van Purdy, 59, of Bromley Road, Ardleigh; and pawnbroker Harvey White, 48, of Church Road, Clacton, were all also charged with one count of conspiracy to conceal criminal property.
Builder James Brown, 44, of Lucy Lane South, Stanway, was also charged with one count of blackmail, one count of conspiracy to conceal criminal property and one count of fraud by false representation.
All six men have been detained in police custody prior to their appearances at Colchester Magistrates' Court later today (Wednesday 26 June).
Nurse Rachel Poole, 47, of Bromley Road, Ardleigh, has been released on police bail until her first court appearance on July 16 when she will face the main charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.
The remaining nine arrested people, aged between 26 and 62 and from the Epping, Colchester and Clacton areas, have been released on police bail until next Wednesday.
Police believe there may be further victims and have asked anyone who has concerns about a friend, relative or neighbour to contact Essex County Council Trading Standards via the national consumer advice helpline on 08454 040506.