Widow, 98, in sting to catch scooter con­man

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY LYNDA ROUGHLEY vis­iternews@south­portvis­iter.co.uk @Visiter

AFRAUDSTER, who tried to con a 98-year-old woman, met his match when he was caught in a clever sting op­er­a­tion she ar­ranged with a pen­sioner friend.

A judge said that, but for the in­ter­ven­tion and in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the friend, “it is highly likely he would have got away with it.”

The sus­pi­cious vic­tim, Doreen Rim­mer, had alerted her 66-year-old friend, Ken Pike, and to­gether they hatched a plan to catch out dis­hon­est mo­bil­ity scooter sales­man Paul Frossell.

For, de­spite her years, the wid­owed vic­tim, who sadly has since died, was ex­tremely alert and “no­body’s fool.”

The for­mer ma­tron had a cer­tifi­cate from Mensa, gave talks about her life and was still pas­sion­ate about cross­words. “She was an amaz­ing lady”, said Mr Pike.

Liver­pool Crown Court heard that Frossell had pre­vi­ously been jailed for six months for de­lib­er­ately tar­get­ing an­other vul­ner­a­ble el­derly customer.

Frossell, 46, was con­victed of fraud by mag­is­trates last sum­mer af­ter a trial, but im­me­di­ately ap­pealed against that con­vic­tion.

His day-long ap­peal has now been thrown out and he was jailed for 12 months.

Mrs Rim­mer gave ev­i­dence at the mag­is­trates’ hear­ing, which was read at the Crown Court ap­peal: “She was ready for bat­tle, she was very old school. We took her to court in her wheel­chair,” said Mr Pike later. “She was cross he had tried to hood­wink her,” he added.

Jail­ing Frossell, the judge, Recorder An­thony Long, told him: “You con­tinue to deny it and have shown no re­morse what­so­ever. Only a cus­to­dial sen­tence is ap­pro­pri­ate to pun­ish you and de­ter oth­ers who might be tempted to take ad­van­tage of very old, vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple.”

He said that Frossell had de­lib­er­ately tar­geted a 98-year-old woman and his plan was to get her 11month-old scooter, still un­der war­ranty, along with £1,500 cash and re­place it with a third­hand scooter – “but she smelt a rat.”

In her state­ment, Mrs Rim­mer told how she bought a red elec­tric mo­bil­ity scooter for £2,795 from Mo­bil­ity World, in South­port, in April, 2015, where Frossell worked.

Apart from pop­ping back about the light­ness of the steer­ing, she had no prob­lems with it, but on Easter Sun­day last year she got a tele­phone call out of the blue from Frossell, in­tro­duc­ing him­self as Paul, from Mo­bil­ity World.

“He in­formed me there had been a re­call of my type of scooter and would have to take it back to check it.” She said she was shocked, as she was not ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any prob­lems with it, and it was Easter Sun­day.

He turned up at her South­port home 15 min­utes later and, af­ter driv­ing it, told her “there is some­thing se­ri­ously wrong with it.”

Frossell said he would take it and she could bor­row a yel­low one he had in his car un­til he brought hers back on Tues­day.

“He told me I could buy it off him for £1,500, and ex­change for my own scooter, and told me it was worth £9,000. I told him I wasn’t in­ter­ested and told him my scooter would have to last me.”

He gave her his busi­ness card from Mo­bil­ity World shop in Cam­bridge Ar­cade where he had pre­vi­ously worked but had left on bad terms in Au­gust 2015, be­fore the time of his il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity.

Be­fore leav­ing he told her to call if she changed her mind, and after­wards she found it was two cards stuck to­gether, with the out­side say­ing, “Paul Gor­don The Scooter Man” and the in­sides say­ing Mo­bil­ity World.

The court heard that she called Mr Pike, who im­me­di­ately came round, and af­ter Easter he rang the man­u­fac­turer’s, who said that there had been no re­call of that model.

He also rang Mo­bil­ity World, who said that Frossell had left them eight months ear­lier, and Mr Pike con­tacted the po­lice, who told him to let them know when Frossell re­turned.

The court heard that he then rang Frossell, pre­tend­ing to be Mrs Rim­mer’s son-in-law, say­ing he was in­ter­ested in buy­ing the yel­low scooter and when he turned up he di­alled 999.

While wait­ing for of­fi­cers to ar­rive, he kept Frossell chat­ting and even went on a test ride on the scooter, while, un­known to Frossell, his wife and Mrs Rim­mer were watch­ing.

Frossell de­nied in court he had said he was from Mo­bil­ity World, and say­ing that the ma­chine was sub­ject of a man­u­fac­turer’s re­call. He said he had bought the yel­low scooter, hardly used, at a bar­gain price of £800, and sold it to his mum for £8,000. She had sadly died in 2015, and he of­fered to sell it to Mrs Rim­mer for £1,500, but was not in­tend­ing to take her scooter as well, he claimed.

He said she had called at

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