A distraction burglar who stole from the elderly and vulnerable has been jailed for more than six years.
Paul Ellis, from Hersden, took cash and sentimental items from victims in villages around Canterbury in June and August 2020.
The 47-year-old was jailed for six years and one month at Canterbury Crown Court on 24 September 2021 after admitting five counts of burglary and one of attempted burglary.
The first offence took place in Wingham on 20 June 2020, when Ellis stole a purse, a wallet and cash from a property whose owners were in the back garden.
On the same day, 6 August, another Wingham resident saw Ellis leaving his property and confronted him, but Ellis left the scene before the man realised his mobile phone had been taken.
Also on the same day, in nearby Preston, Ellis was seen entering the house of a vulnerable woman in her 90s. A neighbour went to check on her and found the contents of her handbag strewn across the floor and cash stolen.
The following week, on 11 August, Ellis told a woman in her 80s in Faversham that he had been sent to her home to fit fire alarms.
After he left, she discovered her late husband’s signet ring, an engagement ring and two other pieces of jewellery had been stolen.
Then on the 16 August, Ellis went to the Sturry home of a vulnerable woman in her 70s. He told her he was from the council before stealing ornamental plates.
Officers from Kent Police’s Chief Constable’s Crime Squad investigated the offences and linked them all to a Citroen van which was seen in the area of the burglaries on each of the days they took place. CCTV images of Ellis at the locations were also obtained as part of the investigation.
The Citroen was seen by officers in Hersden on 18 August, pursued and stopped and Ellis was arrested along with another man, Dean Bushell.
Bushell, 35, also from Hersden, later admitted three burglary charges in relation to driving Ellis to the offences on 6 August and was jailed for one year at the same hearing as Ellis.
PC Adele Tyrer, Kent Police’s investigating officer, said: ‘Ellis targeted the elderly and those with disabilities and took items which were of great sentimental value to some of his victims.
‘Kent Police is determined to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and I am pleased the quick identification of the vehicle involved in these offences led to the arrest of these two men and their jailing.
‘I urge all homeowners, particularly the elderly, to call police, neighbours or relatives if they suspect anyone coming to their home is not who they say they are. We will investigate with a view to bringing any offenders to justice.’