An Alderholt man has been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for three counts of burglary in Dorset and Hampshire.
On 12 May, Manny Barney, 33, was convicted and sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court for three burglaries in Verwood, Christchurch and Hampshire.
On 31 May 2013 at Footners Lane, Christchurch, Barney carried out a distraction burglary in which he asked the victim, a woman in her nineties, to see her garden. During the incident, he was able to take her wallet and purse containing money and cards.
The court also heard evidence that on 25 June in the Edmondsham Road area of Verwood, Barney managed to gain entry to a property by asking the victim, a man in his 80s, to see an item which may be for sale. He was then able to distract the victim and steal money.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Powley, of Dorset CID, said: “These were despicable offences whereby Barney targeted some of our most vulnerable members of our community.
“Dorset Police takes offences like these very seriously. Anyone convicted of preying on the elderly in this way will be dealt with robustly by the courts.
“Victims of distraction burglaries or bogus callers are often elderly and live by themselves. I would like to remind residents to stay vigilant and urge people to make sure that their elderly relatives or neighbours are aware of this type of crime.
“I would advise people to stay wary when opening their doors to callers. Do not buy, sell or sign up to any work on the doorstep no matter how urgent they say the work is. If you are suspicious of their intentions, let a family member or neighbour know and inform the police by calling 101. If they won’t leave, call 999.”
Members of the public should consider the following advice when answering the door:
Locked – Is the back door locked?
Stop – Am I expecting anyone?
Chain – Put the chain on BEFORE opening the door.
Check – Ask for the caller’s identification. Shut the door leaving the caller on the doorstep and phone the number in the phone book NOT the one on the card they give you, as this could be an accomplice around the corner – especially if it is a mobile number. A genuine caller will be happy to wait while you do this.
It will always be a priority for Dorset Police to investigate and detect these offences and bring those responsible for them to justice.