TWO Redditch brothers who were at the heart of a 'calculated and cynical' fraud that netted more than £800,000 from hundreds of unsuspecting timeshare owners have been jailed.

Brian Carr, 30, the leader of the conspiracy, was aided by his 25-year-old brother, Daniel, along with several others, to fleece the victims.

At least 10 bogus businesses were set up as a front to cover the timeshare re-sale scam to target elderly and vulnerable owners.

Victims paid fees of up to £1,500 believing there were genuine buyers for their timeshare facilities in Spain and Portugal, but it was all a sham.

At Stafford Crown Court last week Brian Carr was jailed for a total of six years and eight months and his younger brother was jailed for 4 years.

Both had admitted a charge of conspiracy to defraud between January, 2012 and December, 2014, and Brian Carr had admitted breaking a financial restraining order imposed when he was arrested in March, 2014.

Judge Jonathan Gosling said the fraud was 'deliberate and sustained' and a great deal of work was put in to set up the scam.

Offices were rented, initially in Norwich, and later in Redditch and Bromsgrove, telephone and merchant chip and pin payment facilities were established, numerous bank accounts were opened and letter headings in the name of the 'convincing sounding' companies were produced - all using false details.

"It was a calculated and cynical fraud and was carefully planned to ensnare the victims without them becoming suspicious," said Judge Gosling

He said there were no buyers and the victims were left 'angry and devastated' having lost their money.

"The cynicism was boundless as many victims were approached and fleeced a second time and, in a few cases, a third time," he said.

Judge Gosling rejected Brian Carr's expression of remorse as 'hollow' as he had blatantly defied the restraining order to transfer £450,000 to his UK account which, along with the greed and sheer volume of victims, was an aggravating feature.

Carr, of Ombersley Close, Redditch, had a lavish life style taking luxury holidays and feeding a £400-a-week cocaine habit.

The court heard Carr was jailed in 2015 for six months for being in possession of a false passport.

Judge Gosling also disqualified Carr from being involved as a director or managing any business for the next 10 years.

Daniel Carr, of Exhall Close in Redditch, also used the proceeds of the scam to travel and take expensive holidays and clubbing as a VIP guest and feeding a gambling addiction.

Judge Gosling also rejected Carr's claim he believed his brother's enterprise was legitimate.

Also sentenced were Matthew Barker, 24, Brendon Hicks, 28, Craig Walker, 27, Steven Cross, 37, James Barrass, 37 and 65-year-old James Sharp.

Barker, of Canberra Close, Bromsgrove, admitted fronting a business - Designer Signs (Midlands) Ltd - for a fraudulent purpose and traded to defraud customers.

Hicks, of Salters Lane, Redditch, admitted a similar charge relating to a company named Midlands Designed Solutions Ltd.

Both men were given 13-month prison sentences, suspended for 18 months, and were ordered to complete 250 hours unpaid work.

Walker, of Sandhurst Close in Redditch, was jailed for three years and Cross, of Bath Close, Worcester, who the court heard had been a 'whistle blower' after his arrest, was jailed for six months.

Both had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and were involved in the cold call operation.

Sharp, of Constitutional Hill, Norwich, was given eight months suspended for a year and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and Barrass, of Manby Road, Norwich, was jailed for two years.

Both admitted money laundering offences by fraudulently facilitating the control of criminal monies for Brian Carr.

Applications for confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act against all nine defendants were adjourned until later this year.

All the defendants were arrested during an inquiry, led by West Mercia police and codenamed Operation Gravity, launched five years ago.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Steve Myers, said "The fraudsters offered to take the timeshare facility off people's hands, especially where it was not being used, and claimed to have buyers waiting.

"The timeshare was proving to be a millstone around their necks. Many were either too old, or suffered poor health, to be able to travel.

"They were only too pleased for someone to offer them a solution - and being offered more money than they had paid. But there were never any buyers. They were repeatedly lied to and defrauded."

He added: "People were very trusting, but the blunt fact is that they were all being cheated."