Police swoop on paving contractors in Devizes
Workers at the house in Roundway Gardens where police and trading standards swooped because they feared, wromgly, that the homeowner was being conned
Pensioner Marjorie Rawlings spoke of her shock after five police cars pulled up and arrested the men who were resurfacing her driveway.
Mrs Rawlins, 80, was one of a number of householders in Roundway Gardens, Devizes, to use DriveForce Paving Limited of Swindon to resurface her driveway with paving blocks.
Earlier last Thursday the company’s employees had taken her to NatWest in Devizes to get the cash to pay for it.
Mrs Rawlings said: “I don’t drive any more and it costs me £8 return to get a taxi so they very kindly took me to the bank. “The bill was £7,000 but the bank said they could only let me have £2,000 because they didn’t keep that amount of cash on hand.”
Mrs Rawlings’ request had rung alarm bells at the bank and the cashier had rung the police who arrived with officers from Wiltshire Trading Standards.
Mrs Rawlings said: “They just swooped in and took them all away. I couldn’t believe it. I thought the work would not get done but they came back the next morning and finished off. I am very happy with what they’ve done. It is such an improvement.”
DriveForce boss William Connors was among the workers arrested. He said: “This was a shocking thing to have happened. “It not only stopped us working but has affected our reputation. I have contacted our solicitor about this.
“We were interrupted in our lawful work and kept in custody from 5pm to midnight. I think we are due an apology at least.”
Trading standards officer John Devlin said that Mrs Rawlings’ request for such a large quantity of cash and the fact that the workmen had taken her to the bank gave the signs of something untoward.
He said: “Certainly there was a company undertaking work on several drives in the street, but all the residents we talked to were quite happy with the standard of the work and the price they were charged.
“We are now satisfied there was no fraud involved.”
The contractors were all arrested and taken to Melksham police station where they were interviewed. They were released without charge some hours later and police said that no further action would be taken.
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