Tuesday, December 6, 2016

News: Fraudster jailed over Waverley tree scam

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Nearly £100,000 was meant to help create new woodland at the Waverley development in Rotherham but when it turned out that not a single tree had been planted, the "entrepreneur" who secured the money was jailed for fraud.

On the site of the former Orgreave coking works, Harworth Estates is bringing forward 3,890 new homes with shops, a health centre, parks and schools, to create a progressive new residential and business community within a lakeside setting. The first 570 houses are currently being developed by Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Homes and Harron Homes. It also includes the UK's premier Advanced Manaufacturing Park (AMP).

The Birmingham Mail reports that as part of a national scheme to establish new woodlands, 30-year-old Pritesh Ladwa was awarded a £98,000 grant for a forest scheme at Waverley in 2014.

The Woodland Grant Scheme (WGS) provided incentives for people to create and manage woodlands on sites all over Great Britain. The Forestry Commission paid grants for establishing and looking after woodlands and forests because of the benefits that well managed woodlands give to society.

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The newspaper reported that prosecutor, Daniel Oscroft told Birmingham Crown Court: "There was no forest where a forest should have been."

Ladwa told the Forestry Commission that all the work had been done in March 2014 – but later claimed the site had been targeted by vandals. He was rumbled when two officers from the Commission visited the land.

Mr Oscroft added: "They found no evidence that trees had ever been planted or any evidence that vandalism had taken place. The place had not even been cleared for the planting of trees.

"This was the fraud. Ladwa had lied to the Forestry Commission by saying he had completed the work.

"The fact is two experienced officers went to the site. The work was never done. They have seen it with their own eyes."

Mr Oscroft said Ladwa had other sites and there was evidence he had ordered and stored trees – but he had not used them at Waverley.

Ladwa denied fraud but was convicted and jailed for 27 months.

Waverley website

Images: Harworth Estates


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