FATHER and son fraudsters have been jailed for tricking elderly victims out of thousands of pounds.
Jimmy Chuter, 26, and his dad Albert Webb, 51, stole £4,220 from vulnerable pensioners in Portsmouth.
The pair would travel to the city from Surrey, stopping random victims close to their homes and saying they had carried out roof work and wanted payment.
Some of the victims suffered from dementia and would believe them, allow the pair into their home and then more cash would be stolen in distraction burglaries.
Detective Constable Kieran Doyle, from Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: ‘This pair showed absolutely no regard for their victims, some of whom they would follow from local shopping centres.
‘They particularly preyed on older people who may be more easily confused into believing work had been done to their property.
‘Their behaviour really is the lowest of the low.’
All of the incidents in Portsmouth were carried out in the Milton Road or London Road areas of the city.
Detectives discovered 35 offences had been committed between February 2012 and February 2014.
Thirteen of these were in Portsmouth, while the rest were carried out in Hertfordshire, Avon and Somerset, Oxford and Surrey.
Another man, Jessie Webb, 19, is still wanted by police in connection with the crimes.
In one shocking incident an 85-year-old woman was approached in Portsmouth on October 10, 2013 while she was on her way home to the shops.
She was told work had been done on her house and that she needed to pay a man.
When she arrived home one of the crooks was waiting for her and she gave him £250.
But he came back and asked for more cash – before going with her to the bank where she took out £1,400.
Even then that was not enough as he told he wanted more so she handed over £40.
He tried to get her back to the bank but she refused.
The pair were eventually caught by Hertforshire’s specialist team, Operation Manhunt, set up to tackle distraction burglary, frauds and crime against the elderly.
Officers linked eight incidents in Hertforshire and then put together the pieces with other forces across the south of England.
The oldest victim was a 97-year-old man. The majority were women in their 80s and 90s. Officers said around £15,000 was taken in total.
At St Albans Crown Court, Chuter, of Montrose Avenue, Datchet, was given four years in prison for conspiracy to defraud.
Webb, of The Paddocks, Lyne Road, Virginia Water was given three years and six months for conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to defraud and a standalone charge of fraud for a historic matter.
This sentence will run consecutive to a sentence of three and a half years he got last month at Worcester Crown court for similar offences done while on bail.
A silver Mercedes C200 used in the series of crimes was seized by police.
Det Con Doyle, from Operation Manhunt, said: ‘Through the sheer determination of the Operation Manhunt team, who are specialists in this type of criminal activity, they soon had their comeuppance.
‘And when they faced their day in court the evidence against them was so strong them had no choice but to plead guilty.
‘I am pleased that the judge saw the seriousness of their behaviour and has handed down substantial sentences.’
Detective Inspector Ben Wright, who leads Operation Manhunt, added: ‘My team of detectives left no stone unturned in the pursuit for identifying these men.’
Anyone who has seen Webb should call Hertfordshire Constabulary on 101.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers, the independent charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting Operation Manhunt.
Pair tricked pensioners targeted on the street
ELDERLY victims were conned out of thousands of pounds after they were convinced to hand over cash for work that was never done.
The scams in Portsmouth were:
- September 11, 2013: At 10.30am a 95-year-old man, handed over £300 to a man he allowed into his home. It was only later the victim realised another £1,100 had been stolen from his house. The victim had been stopped near some shops and the man had said he completed work on his house.
- October 2, 2014: At 2.30pm an 88-year-old male victim got a knock at the door of his home. A man told him he had carried out work on his home and wanted £250. The victim refused to pay.
- October 10, 2013: At 11am an 85-year-old woman, was on her way home when a man said he had completed work on her house. He met her outside her home, she let him in and paid £250.
He came back and asked her for more cash. She offered a cheque but was pressured to go to the bank with the man to get cash. She withdrew £1,400 and the man took her home.
He came back and she handed over another £40. He wanted her to go back again.
- October 15, 2013: At 1pm, a male victim, 78, paid a man £100 after he was told work had been done on his house. He later found more cash had been stolen from his home.
- October 15, 2013: At 2pm an 89-year-old woman was at home when a man came to the door asking for cash after he said he carried out work on a window. He went into the lounge, the victim offered a cheque but he said no and left.
- October 15, 2013: At around 2.30pm, a 90-year-old man was stopped near some shops and was told by a man he had done some work on his roof. The victim allowed the man into his home, handed over more than £140. He later found £1,100 had been stolen.
- October 30, 2013: At 10.45am a woman, 83, was stopped on her way to the shops by a man who said he knew her and had done work on her home. He offered to take her to the bank but she went on her own. She saw a friend who said to call police.
- November 19, 2013: At 10am in two incidents, two women in their 80s were stopped in London Road and were told to pay cash for work on their home – both refused.
- November 19, 2013: At around 10.30am a 64-year-old woman was stopped and told some tiles had come off her roof, the man offered to fix it but she refused.
- November 19, 2013: At 11.45am an 80-year-old woman was conned into handing over £400. A man at the door said he knew the woman’s daughter and she was expecting work.
- November 19, 2013: At 1.30pm a 90-year-old man handed over £40 after a man turned up on his doorstep asking for a half-payment for work on his neighbour’s home. The victim paid over the cash.