Two “evil” brothers who conned pensioners out of more than £50,000 after claiming their homes had been overrun with rats and other vermin have been jailed.
Errol, 47, and Timothy Flynn, 36, and a 16-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, preyed on the elderly, Birmingham Crown Court was told.
The court heard how one 76-year-old from Quinton was told by the gang, who claimed they were from the Environment Agency, there was a rat infestation and they needed to look in his loft. Keen to help the ‘official’ the pensioner let the man into the attic where, after a few minutes, he came down holding a dead rat.
The homeowner was then told that it would cost a staggering £25,000 to cure the problem and if he didn’t pay up his home would be condemned.
As a result he was persuaded to go to the bank to draw out regular instalments of £2,500 for the fraudsters who told him, if quizzed by the bank, he should say he was buying a barge.
In an undercover police operation officers, who had been tipped off, marked a £2,500 payment and waited for the men to collect the cash, and arrested all three.
In another case an 86-year-old widower, from Solihull, was falsely told his verandah was rotting with maggots and wood-worm, and later a mouse infestation. The victim ended up paying £25,000.
In passing sentence on the Flynns, who had previous convictions for targeting the elderly, Judge Michael Chambers said what they had done: “Was considered by the public amongst the most evil offences that could be committed.”
Timothy, of Elizabeth Grove, Shirley, was sentenced to five years and four months. His older brother, of the same address, was jailed for four-and-a-half years. Both men had previously admitted conspiracy to defraud.
The 16-year-old who had admitted attempting to possess criminal property, was given an eight-month detention and training order.
Roderick Price, representing Errol Flynn, said he had only been involved in picking up money on the day he was arrested.
Kwame Inyundo, defending the younger brother, said he had been acting under the orders of someone else.