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‘Sly’ burglar conned OAPs self-isolating during Covid pandemic

Written by on 10/11/2020

A 41-year-old man from Doncaster has been jailed for tricking his way into the homes of elderly and vulnerable people.

Felix Hanrahan, formerly of Firth Crescent, appeared before Hull Crown Court charged with three counts of burglary.

The court heard how Hanrahan committed three distraction burglaries between April 17 to 23 in 2020 in Barnsley.

He pretended he’d completed building works for his victims, all of whom were elderly and vulnerable, saying he had noticed their roofing tiles were loose.

In each case, he requested a small amount of money for the works completed but then, when the victims were distracted, he would steal much larger sums of money from their purses or wallets.

Detective Constable Sally Eyre said: “Hanrahan deliberately targeted elderly and vulnerable members of the community, using sly tactics to gain entry to their homes – even though two of his victims were in self-isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“He manipulated his victims, claiming he’d completed work for them and demanded payment. He’d then find some way of getting his victims to leave the room at which point he would steal significant sums of money from them.”

In May 2020, officers released a public appeal for information with CCTV stills.

Hanrahan was identified as a result of the appeal, arrested and charged.

On Thursday, November 5, he was found guilty of all three offences and sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.

“His behaviour is truly appalling and I am pleased he has been convicted and handed a jail term for his crimes,” said DC Eyre.

“I am very grateful to the public, who provided vital information that allowed us to identify Hanrahan, bring him before the courts and secure justice.”

Dc Eyre added: “I want to take this opportunity to remind our communities about the dangers of distraction burglary.

“These criminals will try a variety of underhand tactics to fool their victims into letting them into their homes.

“If you have elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours, please remind them that it is perfectly acceptable to challenge a doorstep caller, especially if you aren’t expecting anyone.

“We will not tolerate individuals who choose to exploit vulnerable members of our community and will take action to identify those involved in this type of criminality.”

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