Justice served on criminals who preyed on vulnerable older residents

Two criminals who preyed on vulnerable older residents in Buckinghamshire and neighbouring areas have been given prison sentences after conning their victims out of large sums of cash.

James John Caleb Sheen of Warren Crescent, Oxford and Michael Steven Jones of Divinity Road, Oxford, were sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court last Friday (10 March) after being convicted of a range of offences relating to home improvement fraud.

During the sentencing hearing, the court heard how threatening behaviour was used towards elderly and vulnerable clients to con them out of large amounts of money, by targeting their victims and making them believe – wrongly – that they needed improvement works to their homes.

The case against the two individuals was brought by Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards, in relation to the companies, Principle Home Developments Ltd and Principle Home Improvements Ltd. Sheen was the registered director of Principle Home Developments and Jones listed as sole director of Principle Home Improvements. Sheen had direct contact with the victims in discussing the works and payments.

A total of six victims were cited in the case, including one from Prestwood in Buckinghamshire. The other victims were from Didcot, Oxford, Reading and Stanmore. All were retired and some of them were deemed as vulnerable.

The court heard how Sheen used threatening behaviour to his victims to force them to pay up. The Trading Standards team has secured £198,000 of money from the companies that has been used to provide compensation to the victims. Proceeds Of Crime Act proceedings to recoup further money are ongoing.

The defendants were sentenced for a range of charges including:

  • Fraud, by falsely claiming that work was required
  • Fraud, by grossly overcharging for work
  • Failing to carry out work to a professional standard
  • Charging for work that was not requested or agreed by the customer


Mark Winn, Cabinet Member for Homelessness & Regulatory Services said:

“This is a shocking case, with vulnerable, elderly residents ruthlessly targeted as easy prey by these criminals.

“It’s been appalling and saddening to hear the details of how these people went about this criminal activity, deliberately targeting and threatening these vulnerable people – this was not a case of a genuine builder making a few mistakes, Sheen in particular is a career criminal deliberately defrauding elderly people out of significant sums of money.

“I would like to thank our trading standards officers, legal teams and the courts for bringing these individuals to justice for these appalling crimes.”