A HARROW conman has been jailed for five years for carrying out distraction burglaries in Hertfordshire and north east England.
James Hanrahan, 35, of Victor Road, admitted bluffing his way into people's homes and then stealing goods 23 times between June 2008 and March this year.
Detective Constable Kelly Adams, from Operation Manhunt, Hertfordshire Police's specialist unit tackling distraction burglaries, said: "James Hanrahan conned thousands of pounds from his elderly victims, some of whom were extremely vulnerable.
"He used many different guises to con his victims such as pretending to be from the water board.
"During sentencing, his crimes were described by the judge as a series of despicable offences.
"However, he did give Hanrahan credit for co-operating with the police. This was reflected in a lesser sentence.
"I am pleased that our hard work in Operation Manhunt has paid off and that he has been locked away for a considerable period of time."
The defendant was sentenced to five years and four months' imprisonment at St Albans Crown Court in Hertfordshire on Friday after admitting five counts of distraction burglary and a dangerous driving charge in relation to an unconnected incident in Buckinghamshire last October.
He was arrested in March in the Teesside area of North East England in relation to a distraction burglary there and was subsequently handed over to Hertfordshire Constabulary.
Officers from Operation Manhunt charged him with three distraction burglaries in Hertfordshire and two on Teesside. Under questioning, the 35-year-old crook confessed to a further 17 offences that were taken into consideration at sentencing.
Hanrahan carried out nine distraction burglaries in Watford and Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire, and 13 in the north east, including Middlesbrough, Whitby, Scarborough and Gateshead.