North Yorkshire men jailed over 'shoddy' repairs

Four builders have been jailed after admitting they charged elderly and vulnerable people thousands of pounds for unnecessary property repairs.

One man, from Malton in North Yorkshire, paid the gang £250,000 over an eight-year period.

Monty David Croke, 46, from Pickering, was jailed for five years, Monty Croke Jnr, 26, for two-and-a-half years and Billy Croke, 23, for 12 months.

James Coverdale, 35, was given 15 months suspended for two years.

'Abhorrent exploitation'

One victim, a pensioner who has Parkinson's disease, said after the court case: "I was completely taken in. Monty David Croke befriended me and he then betrayed my friendship. It was all one big lie.

"I hope this case serves as a warning to others about the dangers of doorstep callers and that it helps prevent others from being defrauded in the way I have been."

Other victims targeted by the gang included a 70-year-old man defrauded of £12,000 and a woman in her 80s with dementia, who paid the gang almost £19,000.

The judge, Tony Briggs, told the men their actions had been "devious, persuasive and ruthless" and they had caused a considerable amount of hardship and upset to their victims.

North Yorkshire Trading Standards described the case as one of the worst it had ever dealt with.

Chris Metcalfe, executive member for trading standards at North Yorkshire County Council, said: "This case has been shocking and distressing, even to those of us who are hardened to this type of appalling and heartless crime.

"That offenders such as these can undertake the ruthless exploitation of vulnerable adults in this way, often for prolonged periods, is disgusting and abhorrent."

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