Rugby removal man convicted of running a sham business and pocketing around £17,000

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A convicted fraudster from Rugby has admitted running a sham removal business.

Jeffrey Hayward, of Crowsfurlong, pleaded guilty at Northampton Crown Court last Friday to running a fraudulent business which led to him pocketing more than £16,900 from 23 families.

And he left them without the removal service he had promised – often on the day of their house move.

Hayward, 35, told a string of lies on various websites and documents and used various names to entice customers to use his removal business.

Since 2004, he has operated under eight different company names – including Removals R Us, Ace Movers & Storers and Master Movers & Storers among others – and frequently gave the cheapest quote on an internet search for removal businesses.

Mum of three Kirsten Bezant, was left stranded with all her belongings in boxes when Hayward failed to turn up on the day of her family’s house move.

Kirsten, 40, who was moving from RAF Wittering to Norwich, said: “Hayward is the scum of the earth.

“My husband had just finished 24 years in the Air Force and this was the first time we had moved ourselves.

“We were very careful in picking what looked like a reputable company.

“Hayward seemed charming and very helpful and his website seemed kosher.

“As soon as I paid him nearly £700 through online banking we never heard from him again.

“He was due to turn up to help us move at 8.30am. We left it until 9.30am and I felt sick.

“We had three young children, our life in boxes and were moving over a hundred miles away. I was crying my eyes out.”

Hayward was originally convicted of fraud on 15 January 2010 when Towcester Magistrates heard how he had dishonestly agreed to move furniture from England to Portugal.

The court then sentenced him to a conditional discharge for 24 months and he was ordered to pay costs and compensation.

Northamptonshire’s Trading Standards department has been pursuing Hayward for a number of years.

It has a file involving 23 victims from across the country with offences during an 11-month period between January and November 2010.

His Honour Judge Michael Fowler adjourned the latest case until 16 July for pre-sentence reports.

The maximum sentence Hayward could face is ten years in prison.

Consumers can report rogue trading issues to Trading Standards by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 040506.