In This Issue
HOWND set to launch new Yup You Stink! Emergency Dog Wipes
Pets at Home hits back at 'misleading' Watchdog claims
All pet retailers are open to scrutiny following Watchdog programme, says PIF
Webbox company eyes fast growth after successful year
Pet chicken owner calls 'fowl' over garden centre dismissal
Pooch & Mutt founder swims, bikes and runs the ‘health’ talk
Friday is national Bring Your Dog To Work Day
Dog ban lifted in Manchester market as pet store gets set to move in
Meet the chubby cats and dumpy dogs battling for Pet Slimmer of the Year
Couple stole £400k from pet supermarket customers
CCTV helps to stop drug problem outside Cambridge pet store
Two new appointments at Grove Pet Foods
Ancol develops its range of dog training products
Pets Corner offer customers advice on how to cope with the loss of a pet
Webbs Garden centre to hold Love Your Pet Day
RVC Welsh Regional Veterinary Centre’s Dr Neil Paton elected as new BVA Welsh Branch President
Canadians warned not to flush 'invasive' goldfish down the loo
Doing the double three years running
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Couple stole £400k from pet supermarket customers

A mother and son have been jailed for scamming £411,388 from up to 3,000 visitors to their online pet stores.

Mechelle and Ian Chatfield kept customers' credit card details and used them to take unauthorised payments.

They ran two websites – Paws Pets Supermarket, and Shop For Your Pets – from their five-bedroom rented farmhouse in Routh, near Beverley.

Both pleaded guilty earlier this month to a single charge of running a fraudulent business between January 4, 2010 and April 1, 2012.

At Hull Crown Court prosecutor David Dixon explained how the scam had worked.

He said: "In the normal way, items were selected by customers, their credit card details were provided and items would normally arrive. That was the lawful side of the business.

"However, they (Mechelle and Ian Chatfield) would then repeatedly use the cards to get more and more from their customers.

"As an example, one customer bought two dog coats at a total cost of £42.49. They arrived. However, following a letter from trading standards he checked his statements and realised that six extra payments had been taken. In fact, the dog coats cost him £297."

During the course of a detailed, two-year investigation by East Riding trading standards, a test purchase was made.

Mr Dixon said: "Even that test purchase credit card was subjected to repeated use. It was used a further five times."

Altogether there were 35,128 attempts to use customers' cards fraudulently, he said. Some attempts failed, either because cards had reached their limit or customers had reported fraudulent activity.

Mr Dixon said if all the fraudulent attempts had succeeded, the Chatfields would have netted £576,288.

Up to £30,000 of the money was blown on lavish holidays, including a Royal Caribbean International cruise, and a trip to Florida. But despite investigations, no assets could be found and none of the money has been recovered.

Judge Mark Bury sentenced each of the Chatfields to four-and-a-half years in prison.

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