Cowboy gang to repay £1m

Cash found in a shoe box during Operation Flycatcher which was investigating the Tomney family
Cash found in a shoe box during Operation Flycatcher which was investigating the Tomney family
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A GANG of cowboy builders who stole thousands of pounds from pensioners on the Fylde coast has been ordered to pay back almost £1m.

Frank Tomney Snr, 55, and his 21-year-old twin sons Frank Tomney Jnr, and Thomas Tomney were ordered to pay back the cash they had pocketed by ripping off their elderly victims following a number of Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) hearings.

The trio, from Cleveleys, were jailed for a total of 15 years last month after Preston Crown Court heard they targeted addresses in Blackpool, Lytham, Thornton, Poulton, Fleetwood, Preesall and Knott End as well as homes in Manchester and Hertfordshire.

The family carried out poor driveway work – often causing significant damage – for extortionate amounts of money.

Det Chief Insp Tim Leeson, from Lancashire Police, said: “It is clear the shoddy and often dangerous building work being carried out by the Tomneys was reaping them thousands of pounds from their elderly and vulnerable victims.

“They did not appear to splash this cash on luxury items, as if often the case, but instead hoarded it away in places, deliberately hoping to avoid scrutiny from the authorities – particularly the tax man.”

Police identified 42 people had been victims of the Tomneys after launching an investigation – Operation Flycatcher II – in 2009.

A raid on their Dorset Avenue home in Cleveleys revealed £17,000 being stored by Frank Tomney Jnr in a designer shoe box. Police also seized £450 belonging to Thomas Tomney and £3,080 belonging to Frank Tomney Snr.

A safety deposit box registered to Frank Tomney Snr holding £265,000 and another in the name of Thomas Tomney, which contained £105,000 were also uncovered in the inquiry.

A judge at Preston Crown Court ruled Frank Tomney Jnr had benefited by £312,286 as a result of his criminality. He was made subject to a confiscation order for £49,507.72.

Thomas Tomney was seen to have benefited by £256,680. He was made subject to a confiscation order for £450 and a forfeiture order for £104,940.

Frank Tomney Snr was judged to have benefited by £801,366 and he was ordered to pay that total within six months or face a further four years in prison.

His assets, which include more than £700,000 in bank accounts, a house and three cars, will be used towards paying back the cash.

In total, the Tomneys have been ordered to pay back is £955,264 and it is hoped this will now be used to compensate the victims.

John Dilworth, head of CPS North West Complex Case Unit, said: “This confiscation order prevents Frank Tomney Senior from getting any financial benefit from his crimes either while he is in prison or after he has served his sentence.”