Fraudster jailed for targeting the elderly - Hertfordshire

27/06/2014

A man, who targeted elderly and vunerable people to commit distraction burglaries and fraud offences, appeared at St Albans Crown Court today, Friday, 27 June 2014, and was jailed for 40 months.

Sean Fury, aged 32, of Bloomfield Road, Harpenden, pleaded guilty to two distraction burglaries and four fraud offences.  He was arrested following an investigation carried out by Operation Manhunt - Hertfordshire Constabulary's specialist unit set up to investigate distraction burglary and other crimes against the elderly.

The team was investigating a series of similar incidents, where the offender was claiming a need to carry out work gardens as a guise to steal money from his victims or get paid for work which was unnecessary and never completed. Fury targeted people who he knew were older and who he could con money out off. Some of his victims were vulnerable because they suffered with memory problems, were immobile or lived alone.

Fury was identified through the police's Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) System that put his van in some of the areas the time the offences were committed. Mobile phone evidence also indicated his involvement and he was later picked out at a Video Identification Parade (VIPER).

The offences six offences, which Fury pleaded guilty to are as follows:

In Baldock on Monday, 17 March 2014, at the home of an 88-year-old man and who suffers with Alzheimers. Fury claimed to be from the council and needed to check the trees in his garden. Whilst the victim was distracted he removed a large amount of money from his house.

In Pitstone on Friday, 21 March 2014, at the home of an elderly woman, Fury claimed he was carrying out work in her neighbours garden and that the fence was loose. He also told her she had a rats nest in her garden which needed removing. She paid him cash and he said he'd return to carry out the work, which he failed to do.

In St Albans on Friday, 21 March 2014, at the home of an 82-year-old woman. Fury told the woman that she needed a tree removing from her garden. She gave him cash and he made off, never returning to carry out the work.  She also later found that cash was missing from her purse which had been removed when she wasn't looking.

In St Albans on Friday, 21 March 2014, at the home of an 89-year-old woman. Fury claimed he was from the local council and that her trees needed cutting down. The woman said she had no cash, but offered to pay by cheque which he refused. He left without any money.

In Potters Bar on Wednesday, 26 March 2014, at the home of a 94-year-old woman. Fury claimed he was working on trees in a neighbouring garden and needed access to cut down a branch.  He claimed her tree needed cutting down for which he asked for payment. The victim gave him cash and he said he would return, but failed to do so.

In Welwyn Garden City on Friday, 28 March 2014, at the home of a 78-year-old woman.  Fury approached the victim who was at the front of her house and said that he was carrying out work in the area and needed to look in her garden. The victim did not part with any cash and said she would carry out her own enquires about the work he claimed needed to be done.

During sentencing the Recorder Patrick Fields said to Fury: "What you committed were predatory offences. You were preying on the old and vulnerable. It is not so much what is taken from the victims that affects them. It is what they are left with afterwards.  They blame themselves for their naivety and it destroys their confidence. These are horrible offences."