Sentences increased for father and son who preyed on elderly

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A father and son who defrauded vulnerable and elderly householders have had their sentences increased by the Court of Appeal.

Three judges in London raised the five years originally imposed in the case of Monty David Croke, 47, from Pickering, who ran a business carrying out domestic building works and home repairs, to seven years and six months.

They upped the 30 months handed to his son Monty Croke, 26, from Knaresborough, who ran a firm involved in the same trade, to four years.

Lady Justice Rafferty, Mr Justice Holroyde and Mrs Justice Andrews agreed with Solicitor General Oliver Heald that the sentences for conspiracy to defraud were “unduly lenient.”

The pair were sentenced in February at Teesside Crown Court, along with another family member, Billy Croke, and a fourth man.

Lady Justice Rafferty said the Crokes had committed “mean, carefully thought-out offences”, carried out over eight years. There were “repeated trips” to some victims to get more money, involving what was best described as “forceful persuasion or the hard sell”.

One elderly man was defrauded of around £250,000 and a woman in her 80s suffering from dementia lost more than £18,000.

Mr Heald, who referred the case to the Court of Appeal for review, welcomed yesterday’s decision.

He 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.

“Older people who live alone are particularly vulnerable; they deserve our respect and should feel safe in society and in their own homes.”

Monty David Croke’s son Billy, 24, from Knaresborough, was sentenced to 12 months and has been released from prison.

The appeal judges said his sentence was also unduly lenient but did not increase it.