A gang of phony builders have been jailed after relentlessly harassing elderly men into paying over-the-odds for unnecessary home renovations.

The criminal trio's activities, including conning an 82-year-old Twickenham man out of £16,000, were investigated by Metropolitan Police's London Crime Squad (LCS).

at Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday, ringleader Patrick O'Driscoll, 40, from Potters Bar, was handed two concurrent five-year prison terms, for conspiracy to defraud.

His companions Damian Foley, 48, from Finchley, and Danny Haygreen, 28, from Hatfield, were sentenced at the same court last week.

Foley received 19 months behind bars for money laundering while Haygreen was handed a nine-month suspended sentence, as well as 90 hours' unpaid work for obtaining criminal property.

All three pleaded guilty to the charges.

In early 2013, the gang inundated a victim with almost 300 phone calls in three months and scammed £94,000 out of his life savings after convincing him his roof needed repairs.

An 82-year-old man from Twickenham was conned out of £16,000 between September 16 and October 3, last year.

He was followed home from the shops, where they told him he was in urgent need of drain repair work.

After talking their way into his home, the gang spilled water over the kitchen floor to fool the victims, who withdrew cash immediately, thinking it was an urgent matter.

Investigating officer Detective Inspector Rob Fisher, of the LCS, said: "The victims feared debt and they feared these men, who were aggressive and unrelenting in their pursuit of cash.

"It will be a long time, if ever, that the victims' faith in others is restored but I hope that the conviction and sentencing of this unscrupulous group will at least help them begin to feel safer."