Peterborough man locked up after admitting heartless distraction burglaries

A Peterborough man who carried out distraction burglaries on elderly residents in Cambridgeshire has been jailed.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 3:58 pm
Shane Cunningham (l) and Kenny Hughes (r)
Shane Cunningham (l) and Kenny Hughes (r)

Shane Cunningham, (35) of Oxney Road, Peterborough, was jailed for 60 months, while Kenny Hughes, 28, of Thomas’s Road, Lutonwas locked up for 30 months after the string of heartless crimes,

The duo first approached an 83-year-old woman in Drury Lane, Wicken on 25 September claiming they were working in the field behind her property and offered to trim an overgrown tree for £230.

The victim told them she didn’t have that money before they reduced it to £200 and a cup of tea.

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After they had left she discovered her jewellery had been taken. She spoke to a neighbour who, looking out for the woman, had taken photos of the vehicle and the number plate of the blue Passat they were driving. She reported it to police.

A short while later they knocked on the door of a 71-year-old woman at her home in Orchard Row, Soham. They claimed to be subcontractors sent to cut down bushes in her back garden following complaints from neighbours.

They barged past her with a chainsaw and went out to the garden before telling her it would cost £300 upfront and another £300 when finished. They wrote her mobile number from the wall and told her they would be back the next day.

The woman reported the incident to police and noted they had driven a blue vehicle.

Officers located the car in Fordham Road, Soham and found Cunningham in the drivers seat and Hughes in the back.

After searching the vehicle and the men, they retrieved jewellery, the money from the gardening job and the 71-year-old victim’s mobile number written on a piece of paper.

PC Henry Longhurst said: “These men were clearly driving round scouting houses and targeting elderly and vulnerable people. The sentence reflects the serious nature of the incidents.

“We are grateful to the victim of Drury Lane and her neighbour for their quick call to police and the information they were able to provide.

“As a result we were able to reunite the victim with her jewellery, a lot of which was of great sentimental value.”

Cunningham of Oxney Road, Peterborough was charged with burglary and burglary with intent to steal and Hughes of St Thomas’s Road, Luton was charged with burglary, burglary with intent to steal and escaping from lawful custody.

They were convicted of the Drury Lane burglary only after their guilty pleas for the incident were accepted at Cambridge Crown Court. They were sentenced on 18 November.