Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 13:41 UK

Jail sentence for squatter conman

Richard and Hazel Jerome
Richard and Hazel Jerome squatted in two homes, the court heard

A man who posed as a businessman to trick two couples into renting out their homes where he and his wife squatted has been jailed for 15 months.

Richard Jerome, 62, and his 60-year-old wife Hazel, left the owners with thousands of pounds in bills, Huntingdon Crown Court heard.

The incidents took place at properties in Buckinghamshire.

Jerome admitted fraud and deception, while his wife was given a 10-month term suspended for two years for fraud.

The court heard the scam began after the couple were evicted from their rented home in Milton Keynes in February 2006.

Cash problems

They approached Janet Jarvis, who was a teaching colleague of Hazel Jerome, and offered to buy her £250,000 home.

They then pretended to have a cash problem and persuaded Mrs Jarvis and her husband to rent out their home with a view to buying it later.

The Jeromes then squatted in the house and did not pay any bills, and the Jarvises were forced to take legal action to evict them.

They then targeted Marion Smullen and her husband John, who lived in nearby Stoke Hammond, offering to buy it.

The Jeromes moved in in March 2007 but were evicted in the following September after again failing to pay rent and bills.

The Jeromes were arrested after a car they had hired but failed to keep up payments on, was reported stolen.



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14 Jul 09 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts

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