Two heartless Cheshire roofers who scammed vulnerable pensioners out of their life savings have been slammed by top judges after complaining their jail sentences were too long.

Tyrone St John Beard, 46, and Marcus Matthew John Reading, 27, each ran roofing insulation businesses and targeted the elderly with overpriced, shoddy work.

Between them Beard and Reading ripped off victims in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the Midlands to the tune of £230,000.

Beard, of Delamare Road in Norley, was jailed for six and a half years at Nottingham Crown Court in June.

Reading, of Charles Square, Hassal Green, near Sandbach, got four and a half years. They each admitted fraudulent trading and conspiracy.

'Utterly despicable'

On Friday (December 18) they argued before three senior judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court that their punishments were far too tough.

But Judge Richard Marks QC sent them away with fleas in their ears after blasting them as ‘utterly despicable’.

He told the court both men operated scams between January 2012 and February 2014.

“They intended to cause elderly and vulnerable customers to pay as much as possible for work which was often sub-standard.

“Some lost their life savings,” said the judge, who added pensioners were targeted as they were ‘more likely to be intimidated’.

No roof properly treated

Among other things, the pair offered to spray roofs with an insulation coating.

But, of 42 roofs treated, tests afterwards showed that none had been properly treated with the advertised product.

Lawyers for Beard argued his sentence ought to have been shorter because of family troubles and his attempted suicide after his arrest.

Reading’s legal team also said his punishment was far too harsh because he was less heavily involved than Beard.

But Judge Marks said: “A sentence which was two years less than Beard’s was entirely proportionate, bearing in mind the lesser number of victims.”

Rejecting the pair’s appeals, he concluded: “This was an exceptionally serious case of its kind.

“Their conduct was sustained, deliberate, cynical and utterly despicable. Both of these sentences were entirely merited.”