Four men who conned 24 elderly victims into paying thousands of pounds for work on their homes have been jailed.

John Lee, 46, Michael Rooksby, 29, and Charles Michael Hugh Doherty, 33, admitted fraudulent activity, while Charles Doherty, 28, pleaded guilty to two fraud counts.

The men even took some victims to the bank to withdraw money.

The group, all of Irchester Travellers’ Site, were jailed for between 27 and 58 months at Northampton Crown Court.

The court heard the men created flyers advertising local tradesmen with various business names to hide their identity.

They would then approach elderly people and give a quote for a small job, usually work on a faulty roof, and once work began the price would escalate.

Repeatedly targeted

In total they defrauded people out of £138,000.

The court heard that some of the victims – aged between 71 and 93 and from Northampton, Norwich, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, and Leicestershire – had died since the fraud.

The group, of Irchester Travellers’ Site in Gipsy Lane, Irchester, Northamptonshire, was eventually caught after bank workers, who saw the victims come to the bank and large transactions taking place, alerted authorities.

Trading standards were approached and managed to get CCTV pictures of some of the culprits – as well as witness statements.

Victims said they were initially targeted and were defrauded, then were visited over and over again for further sums of money.

Lee was jailed for three years and four months, Rooksby for three years and 11 months, Charles Michael Hugh Doherty for four years and 10 months and Charles Doherty for two years and three months.

Avoiding Fraudsters

If you feel either yourself or your relatives may be at risk of being take advantage of, make sure you contact a Checked and Vetted tradesperson at least to price up or give you advice on the job separately. Our members are all trading standards approved, which means they undergo a range of thorough checks that many tradespeople working independently simply couldn’t pass.

If you’d like to contact one to check what you’ve been told is true, or to ensure that you can trust the person working in your home, contact one through our website here, or call us on 0191 65 111 65 to arrange a call-back from a suitable tradesperson.