Leeds doorstep conman jailed

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A doorstep conman who took money from residents after making promises to stop cold-callers contacting them has been jailed for six months.

Naushad Fazal, 26, was arrested in the West Park area of Leeds after persuading ten people to part with cash by telling them he was working for a government initiative.

Fazal called, produced a false identity card and took personal details from residents. They then handed over small amounts of cash ranging from £1.50 to £3.50.

Patrick Gallagher, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court: “The entire incident is quite bizarre.

“The first person to contact the police claimed that someone had cold-called at their house purporting to be from a government agency who was offering help to householders to prevent other cold-callers.”

Officers were called to the area and arrested Fazal after finding him in possession of the fake identity cards.

A search of his home uncovered photocopied documents with letter headings for companies which did not exist.

When questioned, Fazal said, in a “rambling” interview, that they were ideas for businesses he was hoping to set up. He also claimed he had been doing nothing wrong.

Fazal, who had £30 on him when arrested, said he had taken the small amounts of cash to cover his expenses.

Mr Gallagher said: “He said his idea was to post details to consumer direct asking them to be put on a list to prevent cold-callers.”

When asked about the fake identity card he said he had changed his name by deed poll into a “European sounding name” to help his sales pitch.

Fazal, of Woodbridge Lawn, Headingley, pleaded guilty to ten counts of fraud.

Michael Miller, prosecuting, said: “In his own mind he believed that he would at some stage be able to offer the services.

“He intended to provide the service ultimately but he accepts that he went about it entirely in the wrong way.”

Mr Miller said Fazal had previously worked as a doorstep salesman but was out of work at the time of the offence last June.

The court heard Fazal had failed to comply with community orders for previous offences.

Jailing him, judge Sally Cahill said: “What you were doing was something that was completely illegal – cold-calling on people, giving them false identification and telling them you could do something that you clearly could not.”

PC Keith Palmer

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