A married couple followed a woman home from a bank so they could steal hundreds of pounds she had withdrawn in cash, a court heard.
Michael and Alice Collins trailed Shadab Khan after seeing her leave a bank in Firth Park, Sheffield, with over £800 in cash in the early afternoon.
Mr Collins followed her on foot, changing his hat and gloves several times to avoid detection, while Mrs Collins remained close by at the wheel of their Ford Transit van.
When Miss Khan arrived at her Page Hall Road home, father-of-four Collins knocked at the door and told her a pipe had burst and her water needed to be switched off.
He gained entry by offering to show the 37-year-old the location of the stopcock under the sink, while Alice Colins waited outside in the van.
Sheffield Crown Court heard Michael Collins, 39, snatched the handbag containing the cash when his victim’s back was turned, before fleeing.
Andrew Smith, prosecuting, said: “CCTV footage from the bank showed Alice gesturing towards Miss Khan when she saw the amount of cash in her possession.
“Miss Khan walked home but stopped off to do shopping along the way and the defendants continued to follow her.”
Police were called on May 30 and the Collinses, whose children are aged between four and 14, were arrested the next day.
Michael Collins, of Hatfield House Lane, Shiregreen, pleaded guilty to burglary and two separate counts of theft and Alice Collins, of the same address, admitted handling stolen goods.
He was jailed for 25 months while his wife was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work.
Det Sgt Shaf Rehman, said afterwards: “It was a callous, despicable crime.”