Pet shop owner Tracey Robertson says she can now concentrate on running her business again as the business recovers from a fraudulent ‘slip and trip’ insurance claim.
Halifax man Asad Khan submitted a claim to insurance company Covea, saying he had slipped on a patch of water in Paw Prints pet store in Hipperholme, West Yorkshire in 2017. He made another claim against a discount store.
But CCTV camera footage exposed his attempts to make two fraudulent ‘slip and trip’ claims at the two Yorkshire shops.
Khan pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by false representation at Bradford Crown Court and a further count was taken into consideration. He was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court to 10 month’s imprisonment suspended for 18 months. He must also complete 60 hours unpaid work and was ordered to pay £940 in compensation costs.
“It's hard enough running any business, particularly retail, in this day and age but this incident took so much of our time and effort to ensure justice prevailed,” said Tracey, who owns the Paw Prints pet store business with Darren Bailey .
“There were certainly days when we wondered if it was all worth it because of the added additional stress to the day to day running of the business.
“When it came to renew our insurance because of the pending claim our premium increased and we were unable to shop around for insurance as no other company would cover us with a £20k claim in process.”
Co-owner Darren Bailey outside the Paw Prints pet store in Hipperholme.
Tracey can vividly remember the time when Khan entered her shop.
“It was fortunate that I was in the store at the time as I felt that the whole incident was wrong,” she said. “I remember feeling angry at the time and I stayed behind after closing the store to download the CCTV, and I said to one of the staff I am going to put this away safe and wait for the claim and I was right. I felt concerned every time the post came in.
“My gut feeling was it was a con and I was expecting the claim to come in. I think he thought we were a large chain with lots of money that would just settle the claim. We are a family business with four Paw Prints pet stores in West Yorkshire and have put everything back into the business to keep improving it and moving forward.”
Has Tracey learned any lessons following this whole matter?
“I wish I could say that the outcome has helped but it's hard to say that when we are simply a target for all sorts of criminal activity – shoplifting, credit card fraud, store vandalism, fake money etc. But we still do it because we love what we do. But you do find it hard to trust people.”