Six sentenced following distraction burglaries - Hertfordshire

19/12/2012

Six men who carried out a string of frauds and distraction burglaries against elderly people in Watford and St Albans have been sentenced to a combined total of over 19 years imprisonment.

The six defendants were found guilty of conspiring to commit fraud at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday, 04 December 2012, and were sentenced on Thursday, 06 December 2012.  Noel Devlin and Jimmy Devlin were also found guilty of conspiracy to commit distraction burglary.

The details are as follows:

Noel Devlin, aged 21, from Baring Road, London, was sentenced to 3 years for fraud and 1 year for burglary

Hughie Devlin, aged 19, from Baring Road, London, was sentenced to 2 and a half years for fraud and 1 year for money laundering

John Chapman, aged 24, from Hilfield Lane, Aldenham, was sentenced to 3 years for fraud and 1 year for money laundering

Stephen Saville, aged 24, from Borehamwood, was sentenced to 15 months for fraud

Scott England, aged 23, from Oxhey Drive, Watford, was sentenced to 10 months for fraud

Jimmy Devlin, aged 43, from Broxbourne Drive, South Ockendon. Jimmy failed to appear at court for sentencing and was sentenced to 6 years for fraud and 1 year for burglary in his absence.

The investigation was led by specialist detectives from Hertfordshire Constabulary's Operation Manhunt team. They investigated a series of distraction burglaries and high value frauds against elderly and vulnerable victims between December 2010 and August 2011.  The incidents spanned across Bushey, St Albans, and Watford.

In committing the distraction burglaries the gang gained access to their victims' properties by saying they needed to check the damp problem from next door and whilst inside they would distract the victim and then search their house, stealing their cash and other belongings.

The gang also conned victims into parting with large amounts of cash after building work was carried out at their homes. After doing the work and charging an inflated price they would increase the amount owed by claiming VAT needed to be added and saying the work had to be rectified.

In one incident in Bushey, the resident parted with about £40,000 after some sub-standard building work for which he originally paid around £20,000.

Hughie Devlin, John Chapman, and Scott England were eventually arrested attempting to obtain £5,000 from a victim in Bushey in August 2011. The remaining three were arrested during a series of warrants in October.

During summing up HHJ Griffith commented that he took a "serious view of those targeting elderly people" and that "everyone should know that if you target elderly people then you will go to prison."