A woman who tricked her way into the homes of three vulnerable pensioners by claiming to be from Age Concern was caught because one of her victims had a CCTV camera.
And callous Elizabeth Nolan was jailed for 40 months after a judge at Warwick Crown Court was left unmoved by her constant stream of tears in the dock.
Nolan, 31, of Woodside Park caravan site in Oxford Road, Ryton on Dunsmore, had earlier pleaded guilty to three charges of burglary.
Prosecutor Shane Crawford said that four days before Christmas Nolan and a male accomplice went to the home of a 93-year-old man in Burns Road, Stoke, Coventry.
Arriving at around 6pm, when it was already dark, they tricked their way in by claiming to be from Age Concern and to be there to check that everything was OK.
Then while Nolan distracted their victim downstairs, her accomplice went upstairs looking for money, without success.
Having left empty-handed, they moved on to nearby Raleigh Road where they used the same ploy to trick their way into the home of an 82-year-old woman.
But before they had found anything to steal, their victim’s daughter arrived, and Judge Sylvia de Bertodano observed that they ‘beat a hasty retreat.’
The man gave up at that point, but Nolan simply moved on and switched her attention to Harold Road, a few streets and a ten-minute walk away.
There she targeted the home of an 87-year-old woman, attracting her attention by banging on her living room window and gesturing to her to open the door.
The pensioner later said she had been frightened by the sudden banging, but had relaxed when Nolan said she was from Age Concern, and opened the door to her.
But as soon as she did so Nolan walked straight past her and into the lounge, followed by the elderly householder who saw her standing by the chair her handbag was on.
Nolan left after speaking briefly to the pensioner who then discovered that her purse, which contained £105 in cash, had been taken from her bag, and called the police.
Fortunately she had a security camera at her home, as a result of which Nolan was recognised and was arrested at Woodside Park.
Mr Crawford added that Nolan had ‘a fairly lengthy record,’ with 25 previous court appearances for 63 offences, mainly for shoplifting but also for having counterfeit currency.
Ian Speed, defending, conceded there was little he could say in mitigation, adding: “She has been in custody now for a month; and she knows it’s going to be an immediate custodial sentence.”
Jailing Nolan, who began crying uncontrollably over her fate, Judge de Bertodano told her: “Just before Christmas you and a male went to the houses of elderly adults living alone, saying you were from Age Concern, and they let you in.
“These are really unpleasant offences. These were vulnerable victims being targeted in their own homes just before Christmas and tricked into letting you in.
“Quite apart from any loss is the effect it has on those people. They are struggling to maintain their independence and are doing so against the odds, and the consequence of an offence like this is that they do not feel safe in their own homes.
“Your difficulty is your drug use, and you have got numerous dishonesty convictions. Until you rid yourself of this, you will not stop offending.
“The offences are aggravated by your previous record and by the fact that the victims are not just vulnerable but struggling to maintain their independence, and that it was after dark.”