A GYPSY who dressed up as a police officer to con his way into vulnerable and elderly residents’ homes and steal their money has been jailed for eight years.
Alexander Wright, aged 31, was found guilty of seven distraction burglaries and dangerous driving in just 45 minutes by a jury at Sheffield Crown Court.
Ian West, prosecuting, said Wright targeted elderly people aged between 67 and 91 so he could trick them out of their savings.
He bought dark trousers, white shirts and dark jumpers from a charity shop to give the impression he was a police officer.
He even used a fake earpiece, a toy walkie talkie and a four-inch ID badge bearing the word ‘Police’.
Jailing him for eight years, Judge Rosalind Coe QC said: “You dressed as a police officer, therefore persuading them you were somebody who could be relied upon.
“You took various amounts of money and belongings in circumstances where the victims were left uncomfortable and frightened in their own homes.”
The first offences were in Huddersfield and Oldham on July 7 last year.
The next day Wright tricked his way into the home of an 88-year-old woman in Intake, Sheffield, and stole cash and bank books.
Two days later he targeted homes in Allendby Drive, Sheffield, Ashgate Road, Chesterfield and The Mount, Chesterfield.
His victims included an 87-year-old man with Alzheimer’s Disease and a 91-year-old woman.
He was caught after police were called to reports of a distraction burglar in Clifton Crescent, Handsworth, and a high-speed chase ensued.
Wright stuck two fingers up at police officers, drove at speeds of up to 70mph, went through red lights, tried to ram a police car, and drove the wrong way around roundabouts before being arrested in Meadowbank Road, Kimberworth.
Wright claimed on the days of the burglaries he’d lent his van to two members of the gypsy community and had bought the clothes to make him look ‘more professional’.