'Despicable' raiders jailed after conning old folk

Published on: 30 May 2017

BURGLARS who hoodwinked their way into the homes of elderly people by claiming to be from a charity have been described by a judge as "despicable, predatory, heartless and cowardly".

His Honour Judge Hart sentenced Miles Connors and Thomas Reynolds both to six years in prison after they told old people in Fishponds and Kingswood they were from Age Concern as a ruse to enter their homes and steal from them.

Connors, 46, of Reading, and Reynolds, 32, of Slough, carried out three offences last July and were sentenced on April 28.

Reynolds also asked the court to take into consideration three similar burglaries in Berkshire in July and August 2016 and three fraud offences. 

The men called on the home of a 75-year-old woman in Fishponds who let them in after they claimed to be from Age Concern and the NHS, but left empty-handed when she became suspicious. 

In a second incident in Kingswood a man walked into the home of a 92-year-old woman. Again, he claimed to be from Age Concern. The woman was on the phone to her son at the time and he left without anything being taken. 

Finally a man knocked on the door of an 80-year-old woman in Kingswood saying, once again, he was from Age Concern. The lady tried to turn him away but he then claimed to be from the council and she opened the door. 

She heard a second man speak but did not see him. The first man persuaded the woman and her husband to go upstairs, claiming to be checking their mobility to see if they needed a stair lift. When the man left they found that cash had been taken from a handbag. 

In November 2016, following a lengthy investigation involving a number of other police forces, Reynolds was arrested in Wiltshire and Connors was arrested in Berkshire. 

Judge Hart also issued the pair with Criminal Behaviour Orders, which will come into effect on their release from prison. The 10-year orders include conditions which bar both men from visiting South Gloucestershire and 'cold calling' door-to-door.

The charities Age Concern and Help the Aged merged in 2009 and the new organisation was renamed Age UK in 2010.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: "All collectors for Age UK shops are required to carry Age UK ID cards and present them if requested."

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