TWO members of a rogue trade family who preyed on elderly and vulnerable people will spend longer in jail after the Solicitor General got their sentences increased.

Three appeal court judges said a third member would also have had his sentence increased had he not already finished it.

Between them, Monty Croke, 47, and his sons Monty, 26, and Billy, 24, cheated victims in York and North Yorkshire out of almost £340,000 by persuading them to pay for over-priced, shoddy or unnecessary repairs to their homes and laundering the proceeds.

The increase that will see the father spend seven-and-a-half years in prison and his older son four years was welcomed by North Yorkshire trading standards officers who brought the trio to justice.

The council’s executive member for trading standards, Cllr Chris Metcalfe, said: “This case was shocking and distressing for all involved, even to those of our officers who have become more 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.

“The increase of sentencing shows that as a society we are determined that such ruthless fraudsters will be suitably punished.”

Speaking after winning his appeal against the original sentences passed out at Teesside Crown Court in February, Solicitor General Oliver Heald QC said: “This was a terrible case of elderly and vulnerable people being duped into accepting that repairs were needed on their homes, repairs, that were entirely unnecessary and in fact the work that these fraudsters did on the homes of the victims actually made the state of the homes worse.”

Among the 17 victims were a vulnerable man with ill-health from the Malton area, who was defrauded out of £250,000 over eight years; a man in his seventies from the York area with mental health difficulties, who lost £12,200 and a Bridlington couple, in their eighties and nineties, who were cheated out of £26,638.

The father, of Pickering, was convicted of conspiracy to defraud, converting criminal property and contempt of court for breaching a court order freezing his assets. His sentence was five years, increased on appeal to seven-and-a- half years.

The older son, Monty, of Thistle Hill Caravan Site, Knaresborough, was convicted of the same offences and his sentence of 30 months was increased to four years. The younger son, Billy, of the same caravan site, was given 12 months for the same offences.

The father received a 12-month concurrent sentence for breaching a suspended sentence.