Leeds conman is jailed for four years

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A conman who bluffed his way into an elderly woman’s home in Leeds and stole her purse has been jailed for four years.

Derek Vickers, 57, of Swinnow Green, Leeds, approached the 74-year-old near her home in Water Lane, Farsley, on November 2 this year and asked how she was.

She mistook him for a TV repairman she had been expecting and returned to her home with him.

Once back at the address, Vickers asked her to make him a cup of coffee.

The elderly victim then went to the kitchen and left Vickers in the living room.

When she returned five minutes later, she found he had gone and her purse had been stolen from her handbag.

Vickers was identified as a suspect after a police community support officer from the local neighbourhood policing team recognised his description.

Leeds Crown Court heard the officer knew that Vickers had a criminal record for similar offences.

When he was arrested and interviewed he claimed he had been in a betting shop at the time of the offence.

Further investigations revealed CCTV footage which showed Vickers was in the area at the time of the offence.

Vickers, who was convicted of the burglary offence at an earlier hearing at Leeds Crown Court, has a long history of similar crimes.

He had been released from prison in January this year where he had been serving a seven-year sentence for burglary.

After the case, Det Con Rob Miller, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Vickers is a habitual criminal who has a long offending history of preying on the elderly and vulnerable purely for financial gain. The damage done by offenders like him cannot be measured solely on the value of the property they have stolen.

“The traumatic effect that these types of crime have on the victims is often severe and long lasting.

“We hope that the victim in this case and the wider community will be reassured to see him brought to justice. This case should again serve as a reminder why people should be immediately suspicious of anyone who approaches them in the street or at home.”

For more information on preventing distraction burglaries, contact Age UK on 0800 1696565

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