Brother and sister targeted vulnerable elderly couple in distraction burglary

Andrew Harding
Andrew Harding
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A brother and sister have been convicted of a distraction burglary at the home of an elderly couple in Peterborough.

Andrew and Leah Harding targeted their victim, who is in his 70s, after seeing him gardening in the front of his home in Helmsdale Gardens, Werrington, on the afternoon of May 17.

They asked for a drink of water and as he went to the kitchen, they invited themselves into his living room. They left the house a short while later, but then returned after 10 minutes and let themselves in; claiming they had lost their mother’s mobile phone and needed to search the house. The pair did not find the phone and left.

The victim and his wife, who is in her 60s, later noticed money was missing from the living room and from his wallet.

Andrew Harding was charged with dwelling burglary and theft, plus four counts of stealing alcohol from a shop. Leah Harding was charged dwelling burglary and theft, one count of stealing alcohol from a shop and one count of possession of a Class B drug.

The pair pleaded guilty and were sentenced at Peterborough Crown Court on Thursday (June 25).

Andrew, (33), of Myrtle Avenue, Peterborough, received three years in custody for burglary and seven counts of shoplifting.

Leah, (26), also of Myrtle Avenue, received an 18 month community order; 50 hours’ rehabilitation activity requirement; and a 12-month drug rehabilitation requirement.

Detective Constable Adam Blake said: “This was a calculated act, which preyed on elderly victims.

“This should act as a warning that we will investigate crime, protect the most vulnerable and keep people safe in their communities.”