'She cynically targeted elderly people': Conwoman back behind bars for targeting vulnerable Leeds pensioners

Rebecca McBrien has a long history of targeting the homes of elderly victims in Leeds.
Rebecca McBrien has a long history of targeting the homes of elderly victims in Leeds.
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A conwoman with a history of tricking her way into the homes of elderly victims in Leeds has been locked up for four years.

Rebecca McBrien has a long criminal record for preying on vulnerable people in order to fund her addiction to heroin and crack cocaine.

Leeds Crown Court

Leeds Crown Court

McBrien pleaded guilty to three offences of burglary and three offences of fraud when she appeared before Leeds Crown Court.

Jessica Heggie, prosecuting, said McBrien targeted the home of a 78-year-old woman in Adel on March 8 this year and asked if she could use her phone.

Once inside the property she stole debit cards which she later used at McDonald's and other business premises.

On March 23 she went to the home of an 83-year-old woman in Rodley and asked if she could use her phone to call a locksmith.

McBrien went into a bedroom and stole wallets, jewellery and a purse.

The defendant was caught when she went to the home of a 91-year-old woman who suffers from dementia.

A neighbour intervened when McBrien tried to get into the house.

The neighbour was later able to identify McBrien to the police.

McBrien, of Miles Close, Bradford, has served lengthy prison sentences in the past for targeting the elderly.
Ian Howard, mitigating, said McBrien pleaded guilty to the offence at an early stage.

Sentencing McBrien, The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl, QC, said: "You repeatedly take advantage of elderly and vulnerable ladies."

Detective Inspector Andy Norgate, who heads Leeds District Crime Team, said: “McBrien repeatedly preyed on vulnerable and elderly victims to steal from them, largely to fund her use of heroin and crack cocaine.

“She used a well-practised routine to portray herself as someone in need and exploited the victims’ natural inclination to help.

“She cynically targeted elderly people knowing they might have memory issues that could affect their recollection and hinder police efforts to identify her.

“McBrien has a very long history of tricking her way into people’s homes to steal from them and we hope the significant sentence she has received will help to reassure the community and send a clear warning to other similar offenders.

“Although she is now safely behind bars, we would always remind people to be very wary of anyone who calls at their door unexpectedly asking to use their phone or for a glass of water or claiming to be from a utility firm.

“We would ask people to keep an eye out for their elderly neighbours and to contact the police immediately if you are suspicious of anyone calling on them.”