Man sentenced to 11 years for distraction burglaries

A man from Runwell has been jailed after carrying out 10 distraction burglaries where he posed as a police officer to trick elderly and vulnerable victims.

Elijah King, 37, of Meadow Lane, appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Friday November 8 where he was sentenced to a total of 11 years for burglaries and dangerous driving.

He previously admitted the counts and driving without insurance at the same court on Friday November 1.

Between April 1 and July 22, officers investigated reports that elderly and vulnerable people aged between 70 and 92 had been burgled.

King drove to addresses in Goldhanger, Billericay, Wickford, East Hanningfield, Ingatestone, Chelmsford and Woodham Walter then knocked at the doors of his victims where he impersonated an officer investigating counterfeit money.

He showed the victims fake identification documents and on occasions he threatened them with arrest and pushed passed them.

Each victim allowed King into their home before later finding cash missing.

He was arrested on Tuesday July 23 after executing a warrant at his address.

Investigating officer PC Jonathan Stephenson, of Brentwood CID, said: “King targeted our community’s elderly and vulnerable for his own financial gain.

“He claimed to be an officer from a specialist unit at Essex Police and preyed on his victims’ respect for authority to gain access to their homes. If they challenged him, King threatened to arrest them for being uncooperative.

“We believe King followed some of his victims home after he saw them withdrawing cash in their towns. He is also an opportunist who targeted his victims due to their age.

“The crimes he carried out have and could continue to have an impact on the lives of the victims, with some even registered as disabled.

“He has today been sent to prison and I hope this outcome provides some justice to them. I thank you for your support over this case.”

In addition to his jail sentence, King has been made the subject of a Serious Crime Prevention Order, which means he has to let Essex Police know any future home addresses, phone numbers and employer details. He is also banned from cold-calling anyone as a result of the order.

Police have issued the following advice:

• A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account;
• Your bank or the police will never ask you for your PIN, bank card, or ask you to withdraw money or buy items on their behalf. If you receive an unexpected call, hang up and use another phone to call back and confirm identity;
• Be extremely wary of unsolicited phone calls from your bank or the police, particularly if they are requesting personal information;
• Always check a cold callers identity. If you are not happy about a person’s identity, do not let them into your house under any circumstances;
• Never hand over your money, bank cards or make purchases following an unexpected call.

For more information you can read The Little Book of Big Scams, which was compiled by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, on www.essex.police.uk.

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]