'A mean and despicable thing to do': Burglar tricked disabled pensioner at Leeds residential complex

A burglar preyed on a disabled pensioner at a residential complex in Leeds by tricking her into believing men were trying to break into her home.

David Clarkson fooled the victim into believing her home was being targeted by criminals before stealing her purse as he pretended to be helping her.

The judge who sentenced 62-year-old Clarkson to more than five years in prison said he had one of the worst criminal records he had ever seen.

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Clarkson committed the offence at the property on Claremont Grove, Pudsey, while he was out of prison on licence over similar crimes against elderly victims.Carmel Pearson, prosecuting, said the 88-year-old woman was targeted as she returned home on her mobility scooter from a shopping trip on November 27 last year.

'Despicable': David Clarkson was jailed for five years and four months.

Clarkson followed the woman to the door and claimed that he had seen people at the back of her house and told her that they were burglars.

The defendant then told her to go and look to see if they were still there.

Clarkson took the woman's purse from her bag when she went to check.

Miss Pearson said Clarkson went inside the property and emptied the contents of the purse on to her bed.

He then went back to the woman's bag, which was on the mobility scooter, and continued to rifle through it.

Clarkson left when the woman shouted at him as she realised she had been tricked.

He was arrested after being recognised from CCTV footage.

Clarkson, of Huddersfield Road, Bradford, pleaded guilty to burglary.

He asked for a further schedule of six offences to be taken into consideration by the court. Those offences include four burglaries and two thefts.

Clarkson has convictions for 112 offences, including 36 house burglaries.

Eddison Flint, mitigating, said Clarkson's offending was linked to his long-standing addiction to class A drugs.

Mr Flint said his client had managed to find a job at a timber company after being released from custody on the last occasion.

During the course of his work he fell from a roof and suffered fractured ribs and a head injury which had left him unable to work.

Mr Flint Clarkson began committing offences again when he returned to using drugs.

Clarkson was jailed for five years and four months.

Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: "At the age of 62 you have acquired for yourself one of the worst criminal records that I have seen in all my years in the law.

"It was a mean and despicable thing to do.

"I have absolutely no doubt great distress was caused to that lady even though you took nothing."