Conmen tricked their way into a 94-year-old woman’s home when the entrance to her block of flats was open while engineers repaired the lift.
But CCTV images would later help police snare Michael Casey of West Drayton, and he is now serving a 26-month jail sentence.
The engineers were working on the lift in the block in Cuffley, Herts, when they heard a man with an Irish accent tell the woman, who lives alone on the first floor, that there ‘was a leak’.
Prosecutor, Ann Evans, told St Albans crown court that two men had been let into the flat by the elderly woman. One went to the kitchen while another sat down in the lounge.
They left empty-handed, but the police had been called and when officers reviewed CCTV images they were quickly able to arrest 48-year-old Michael Casey, of Maple Avenue, West Drayton.
He admitted burgling the woman’s home on the afternoon of March 5 this year.
Daniel Kersh, defending, said Casey had not been convicted of burglary for 25 years. He said he had divorced and was living with his mother and three children.
But Judge John Plumstead commented: “I wonder what he would think if someone was bamboozling his way into his mother’s premises.
Jailing Casey for 26 months, he said: “There is little more that is despicable than picking on old and lonely people.”