Handyman stole almost £7,000 by creeping into victim’s home

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A CROOKED handyman fleeced an elderly widow out of almost £7,000 by sneaking into her home during the night to steal her bank card.

James Midgley managed to obtain a key to the elderly woman’s home in Horsforth, Leeds, when he carried out building work.

He used it to get into the property on more than 20 occasions when she was asleep in bed.

Midgley would take the bank card from her handbag and use it to withdraw money at a cash machine nearby. The 22-year-old would then sneak back into the house and replace the card before leaving. The deception went on for six months until the 74-year-old victim noticed a large sum of money missing from her bank account. Police discovered that Midgley had phoned the woman’s home 44 times.

Robert Galley, prosecuting, said the calls were made to ensure she was either in bed or not at home. If Midgley received no answer he would then enter the house. The victim was advised to change the locks on her home and the offending stopped immediately.

Midgley was arrested and pleaded guilty to theft. He was jailed for two years. Mr Galley said the victim had only been in contact with Midgley on one occasion, in 2012.

She needed work doing on her garden and had no one to do it following the death of her husband. Midgley was recommended and trusted with her bank card and pin number on one occasion to buy materials.

Bank records showed he had withdrawn sums of £300 at a time from a cash machine at a Tesco petrol station.

Insp Richard Coldwell, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Midgley cynically exploited the trust of an elderly and vulnerable victim and repeatedly crept into her home to steal from her purely out of greed.”