Policeman con denied by gypsy

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A GYPSY accused of dressing up as a police officer to trick his way into old people’s homes and steal their money has told a jury he did not commit the distraction burglaries.

Alexander Wright, aged 31, admitted buying smart dark clothing including shirts and ties.

But he said the reason for that was he’d left his wife at the time, and hadn’t taken any clothes with him. He said he needed the ties for church, and the shirts to look more professional for work.

He told jurors at Sheffield Crown Court he had lent his white van - reportedly seen at the crime scenes - to acquaintances from the travelling community on the days of each of the offences.

He is accused of seven burglaries between July 6 and 9 last year in Sheffield, Chesterfield, Huddersfield and Oldham.

The dad-of-two, of no fixed address, said he had bought the van from a fellow gypsy called Johnny Doherty, and was paying for it in instalments.

On the day of the first burglary, in Huddersfield, he said he had lent the van back to Mr Doherty and a man called Michael Handregan, so that they could go up to Scotland to collect a trailer.

But jurors were told cell site analysis put Wright’s mobile phone in the area of the burglary.

Asked where his mobile was, Wright said: “I’ve got a work phone and it stays in my van. The phone was in the glove box.”

Defence barrister Kath Goddard asked why his fingerprint was found on the door of a property in Stanhope Road, Intake, Sheffield.

Wright said he’d gone to the area to canvass for gardening work, and spotted a man who looked as if he needed help. Wright said his fingerprint was on the door because he had helped the resident fix the door after it became jammed.

A burglary was committed later that day on the same road. Asked where he was at the time Wright said: “I was at a bookies in Barnsley.” He said Johnny Doherty had borrowed the van again, and the mobile was still in the glovebox.

Wright denies burglary and dangerous driving. The trial continues.