Only one in nine distraction burglars who trick their way into victims’ homes are prosecuted as police admit they often can’t even track down the criminals
- Distraction burglars pose as officials such as utility workers to sneak into homes
- Last year only 269 out of 2,352 such crimes ended in suspects being charged
- Police areas with most distraction burglaries were London and West Midlands
Just one in nine conmen who trick their way into their victims’ homes to commit burglaries end up being prosecuted.
The criminals pose as officials such as utility workers or council staff to sneak their way into the homes of vulnerable people.
Out of 2,352 such crimes reported to police last year, just 269 ended up being caught and charged, Home Office figures revealed last night.
In 1,697 cases – nearly three quarters of the total – police admitted they never even managed to track down the criminal.
In another 346 it was decided by the police or the Crown Prosecution Service that there were problems with the evidence which meant the cases were not worth taking to court.
Just one in nine conmen who trick their way into their victims’ homes to commit burglaries end up being prosecuted (stock image)
David Spencer, research director at the Centre for Crime Prevention campaign group, said: ‘These figures are damning.
‘Confidence tricksters are among the most despicable of criminals who prey on the elderly and vulnerable and should be facing the full force of the law and long prison sentences.
‘These are difficult crimes to solve, but that is no excuse for the police not to be conducting a thorough and detailed investigation into every case.
‘They also have a responsibility to ensure that vulnerable people are aware of the risk of falling victim to this type of crime and have the tools and the knowledge to protect themselves.’
Crime prevention experts say elderly people should fit a door chain to their home and only let in callers they are expecting.
The detection rate is low because criminals often pick on people who are so vulnerable they are not able to remember the exact details of how they were scammed or what the crooks looked like.
The detection rate is low because criminals often pick on people who are so vulnerable they are not able to remember the exact details of how they were scammed or what the crooks looked like (stock image)
The police areas with the most distraction burglaries last year were London (691), West Midlands (260), Thames Valley (100), West Yorkshire (92) and Essex (84). Some of those caught and sentenced recently include Cornelius Connors, 49, of Solihull, who committed a string of raids on homes in the West Midlands, West Mercia and Nottinghamshire, often by posing as a water company official.
He would run the taps and while ‘checking the meter’ would ransack homes for valuables. He was caught after stealing a video camera that was filming him – and police were able to view the footage from a central database.
He was jailed for eight years. Christopher Henry, 54, of South Croydon, was jailed for six years for a distraction burglary at the home of an 86-year-old woman in St Albans.
He claimed to be a plumber investigating a leak at a neighbour’s home, and while the homeowner was distracted in the kitchen he stole gold jewellery and a £20 note from her bedroom.
In 2017, Taj Ramzan, then 37, conned his way into a pensioner’s home by smearing ketchup on his face and pretending he was bleeding profusely and needed help.
The 86-year- old homeowner caught the thief searching through his bedroom in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, and frogmarched him out. Ramzan, of Studley, Warwickshire, was jailed for 27 months.
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