Six men who conned elderly people out of amounts as large as £40,000 in a string of fraud and distraction burglaries have been jailed.

The defendants, including two from Borehamwood and Aldenham, were sentenced to a combined total of 19 years for conspiring to commit fraud earlier this week.

John Chapman, 24, of Hillfield Lane, Aldenham, was jailed for three years for fraud and one year for money laundering.

Borehamwood man Stephen Saville, 24, was also sentenced to 15 months for fraud.

The other four were Noel Devlin, 21 of Baring Road, London, who was sentenced to three years for fraud and one year for burglary; Hughie Devlin, 19, of Baring Road, London who was sentenced to two and a half years for fraud and one year for money laundering; Scott England, 23, of Oxhey Drive, South Oxhey, who was sentenced to ten months for fraud, and John Chapman and Jimmy Devlin, 43, of Broxbourne Drive, South Ockendon.

Jimmy Devlin failed to appear at court for sentencing and was sentenced to six years for fraud and one year for burglary in his absence.

The group was brought to justice by specialist detectives from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s team, Operation Manhunt.

The unit investigated a series of distraction burglaries and high value frauds against elderly and vulnerable victims between December 2010 and August 2011.

The incidents spanned across Bushey, St Albans and Watford. The gang gained access to their victims’ properties by saying they needed to check the damp problem from next door and while inside they would distract the victim and then search their house, stealing their cash and other belongings.

In one incident in Bushey, the resident parted with about £40,000 after some sub-standard building work for which he originally paid around £20,000.