The uncle and cousin of Hither Green burglar Henry Vincent were jailed today over a cowboy builder scam.

David Vincent Snr, 50, and his 26-year-old son, also called David, conned homeowner Robert Etheridge out of £6,000.

They tricked the 60 year old into believing his loft was infested with rodents by showing him the bodies of three dead rats.

A builder who later inspected the ‘work’ carried out by the crooks concluded it was "valueless, non-urgent and bodged".


The pair appeared in court just three weeks after relative Henry Vincent, 37, died during a break-in at the home of pensioner Richard Osborn-Brooks, 78.

Mr Osborn-Brooks was arrested on suspicion of murdering the burglar, who had been armed with a screwdriver, before being released without charge.

Vincent Snr, previously convicted of a similar scam, was jailed for 21 months while dad-of-three Vincent Jnr received 18 months.


They were sentenced alongside a third member of the gang, John Baker, 36, who was also jailed for 18 months.

Judge Philip Statman said: "Your victim describes how your visits made him feel intimidated.

"This was all three of you taking on different roles as part of a joint enterprise to embark upon what was clearly a scam…You were all in it together.

"This was deliberate targeting of a victim and he was a vulnerable person at the time."

Robert was off sick from work when the Vincents turned up at his home in Dartford, Kent, last November.

He was tricked into believing his roof had been damaged by a pigeon and that his facsia boards were rotton.

The gang, wearing jackets saying ‘Ideal Home Improvement’, convinced him he needed extensive building work.

Prosecutor Trevor Wright said Robert was initially pressured into paying the Vincents £1000.

He said: "Mr Etheridge felt he needed the work done as soon as possible.

"Both men followed him into his bedroom and he said he felt intimidated. He passed the money to Vincent Snr."

Several days later the Vincents were joined at the address by Baker who told Robert his roof beams were rotton.

He was charged a further £5000 and further claims of maggot, bird nest and rat infestations were also made.

Mr Wright added: "There was no infestation, what work was done was badly done and valueless, it wasn’t urgent and no work was required in the roof.

"As far as the limited fascia replacement was concerned, it was poor quality and, I quote, bodged."

Maidstone Crown Court heard the gang was brought to justice after Robert contacted his insurance company who alerted police.


No mention of Henry Vincent’s funeral, due to be held next week, was made in court other than a brief reference to a "bereavement".

Vincent Snr was previously jailed for six years in 2003 after he and six other members of the Vincent clan duped OAPs out of almost £450,000.

Andrew Collings, defending, said his client has arranged for the money to be paid back to victim Robert.

He added: "This offence was an aberration on his part for which he is ashamed.

"He accepts he is the author of his own misfortune and has been incredibly stupid."

The Vincents, both of Orpington, Kent, and Baker, from Eltham, south east London, admitted fraud at an earlier hearing.

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