A recent case involving a fraudulent mobility aid salesman has highlighted the importance for the elderly, disabled and their families to ensure that they thoroughly research companies and tradesmen providing such products and installation services before parting with their money.Darren Sharpe, 42, from Mansfield, worked under the company name of Ideal Mobility Solutions, and conned £50,000 mostly from elderly people by selling defunct or ineffective mobility aids.

He has been jailed for five years at Nottingham Crown Court after being convicted of fraud offences across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Sharpe claimed the ordinary mattress covers he sold would help ailments such as bad backs and stiff joints. One victim who bought such a mattress from Sharpe paid £300, when it was only worth £30.

Other products fraudulently sold included mobility scooters and stair lifts, which were either sold at an inflated price or were never delivered to the customer.

Money that Sharpe took from his victims ranged from £200 to £5,000, which was obtained through unauthorised credit card transactions.

DC David Porter from South Yorkshire Police commented: “Sharpe preyed on vulnerable victims, and is a manipulative man who befriended elderly people, often spending hours in their homes gaining their trust. He had one goal in mind: to defraud them of their savings and benefits.”

In light of this case, it is essential that care is taken to research the specific model and price of mobility stairlifts, scooters and other mobility aids before committing to a purchase from a particular vendor, to ensure the technical specification of the model is relevant to its price. Any company or tradesman should also have their repute researched before committing to a purchase.