Burglar ‘callously’ tricked elderly and vulnerable during two-week crime spree

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A career criminal who preyed on elderly and vulnerable victims during a two-week burglary spree has been jailed for ten years.

Andrew Deeley, 50, of no fixed abode, carried out his crime spree in the short space of just two weeks in August and September 2014, burgling the homes of eight elderly women aged between 73 and 96 years old, causing them untold anguish and distress, Sheffield Crown Court heard today (Tuesday).

Det Cons Lee Morris, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Deeley has used a variety of tactics to callously trick his way into peoples’ homes, cold-heartedly targeting the elderly and vulnerable, taking advantage of their trust and generosity.

“I want to praise the victims in this investigation for their courage and bravery in reporting the crimes Deeley committed against them, and reassure them and anyone else who is a victim of this type of burglary, that they are not at fault or to blame in any way for these criminals inexcusable actions.

“I have known and dealt with Deeley for many years. The sentence reflects the serious nature of these offences.”

On Thursday August 21, Deeley approached a 90-year-old woman in her front garden in Grimsby. He claimed he was looking for his cat and asked if he could have look in the rear garden. The woman allowed him into the garden, however Deeley then entered the property and stole £500 from a bedside cabinet before fleeing the scene.

Just a few days later, on Tuesday August 26, he posed as a security official, advising the 96-year-old woman at her property in the Greystones area of Sheffield, that he needed to check the security of her home. The woman kindly made him a cup of tea, which he drank and then stole £40 in cash and the woman’s handbag containing her purse.

The next day, Deeley attended a property in Heeley, telling the 83-year-old female resident he was from the Crime Prevention Unit and he needed to check the security of her windows. Deeley was in the property for a matter of minutes before fleeing with the woman’s that contained £80 cash.

At a property in Crosspool, on Monday September 1, Deeley advised the 89-year-old resident that he was her daughter’s neighbour and she had left her purse inside. As the woman’s daughter had visited that day, she allowed him entry and began to help him look. He left empty-handed saying she must have left it elsewhere, however the woman later realised two of her purses with around £250 were missing and her passport.

On Tuesday September 2, Deeley committed four burglaries all in the Hackenthorpe area between midday and 2pm. He claimed he was from the council to a 96-year-old resident and stole £20 in cash, and also to an 84 and 86-year-old at two separate properties, stealing a purse from one of them.

In the last burglary, Deeley was found in the kitchen of a 78-year-old woman’s property. When asked what he was doing he claimed he was doing gardening work next door and need to plug his extension cable in. The woman asked him to leave, which he did and empty-handed.

As the crimes were reported, officers began enquiries and he was arrested on Wednesday September 3 2014, on suspicion of multiple burglaries and charged the same day.

Detective Inspector John Wheaton, who leads the team for investigating burglaries, said: “If someone attends at your door claiming to be from a company or an official, always ask to see a form of identification, then close and lock the door if you have even the slightest suspicion, and contact the company they claim to work for. If they are genuinely who they say they are, they will have no issues with you confirming their identity.

“Distraction burglars or ‘bogus officials’ are opportunistic and will attempt to gain entry to your home. If you have any concerns at all, contact the police immediately either on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“I sincerely hope Deeley considers his actions and the traumatic effects they have had on his victims while he is serving his sentence.”