He preyed on elderly and vulnerable people - once stealing a handbag from a woman in her 80s - but Anthony Smith of Coates is now behind bars

Anthony Smith of Coates has been jailed for burglary. He preyed on vulnerable, elderly people, a cou

Anthony Smith of Coates has been jailed for burglary. He preyed on vulnerable, elderly people, a court heard. Picture: CAMBS POLICE - Credit: Archant

A distraction burglar who preyed on vulnerable, elderly people in their own homes has been jailed.

Anthony Smith, 54, of March Road, Coates, stole a handbag from a woman in her 80s after claiming to have carried out work at her home in Reeves Way, Peterborough.

The court heard Smith had approached the woman and her husband on March 11 and agreed to carry out some minor gardening work for them for £10, which they paid upfront.

However, the work was not carried out and when Smith returned on March 22 he took the opportunity to steal the handbag and flee as the man was taking him to see the work that needed doing in the garden.

Smith also visited another elderly resident at an address in Southfields Drive, Stanground, Peterborough, on March 11where he claimed there were diseased trees in the rear garden, which needed treating. The occupant's daughter became suspicious of Smith and asked him to leave.

You may also want to watch:

However, Smith returned on March 22 and let himself in. He was confronted by the occupant's daughter and claimed he had spotted vermin in the rear garden, which he offered to deal with, but was again asked to leave. Nothing was stolen on this occasion but it's believed Smith's intention was to steal.

In both offences, Smith arrived at the houses in a red Transit van with another man who has not been identified.

Most Read

Smith pleaded guilty to burglary at Peterborough Crown Court and was sentenced to 28 months in prison on Thursday (June 27). He was also ordered to pay compensation to his victims.

DC Tom Adams, who investigated, said: "Smith is a heartless criminal who preyed on elderly, vulnerable victims in their own homes.

"I would urge anyone who has an elderly or vulnerable relative to be vigilant when it comes to cold calling trades' people; never pay upfront and always ask for ID."

For online burglary prevention advice visit: www.cambs.police.uk/A-Z/Burglary

Anyone with information about burglary should call police on 101 or visit www.cambs.police.uk/report Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus