Woman targeted pensioners then stole from their homes

Samantha Brennan
Samantha Brennan
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A ‘deplorable’ woman who tricked pensioners out of cash in a series of distraction burglaries in Peterborough has been caged for four years.

Samantha Brennan (34)sobbed in the dock as her cruel crimes were revealed at Peterborough Crown Court.

She targeted vulnerable elderly residents, telling them she had been the victim of a burglary and needed cash.

Even if she was given cash by the kind hearted pensioners, she would also steal bank cards from them, using them to withdraw hundreds of pounds.

She appeared at the court on Friday, where she was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to four frauds and two burglaries. She also asked for five other frauds and one burglary to be taken into consideration.

Prosecuting, Craig McDougall said: “She is a professional distraction burglar. The method is always the same. She gains the trust of a vulnerable person, gains entry to the home and steals items.”

Mr McDougall said Brennan had been convicted of a number of similar offences in the past, with all the offences following an almost identical pattern.

Following the case David Bache, chief executive of Age UK Peterborough said: “We deplore those who take advantage of elderly people.

“I hope this sentence sends a message and puts people off from committing this type of offence.”

Mr McDougall said the first victim was a 78-year-old woman who was suffering from dementia.

He said: “She attended the house on January 10 this year. She said she lived next door - which she didn’t - and asked to come in and borrow £20.

“She returned on January 12, claiming to be checking up on the woman. She asked for a glass of water, and was left alone in the lounge for three minutes. She left later, and the purse was found to be missing.”

The next victim, a 90-year-old woman with mobility problems, was visited by Brennan on January 19. Brennan said her flat had been burgled and did not want to be on her own. The woman invited Brennan to make a cup of tea, and she went into the kitchen.

It was later discovered £75 had gone missing, and a purse with a cash card. £750 was taken out of the account by Brennan.

Brennan also targeted a couple in their 80s on February 4, telling them her house had been broken into. She was given £10 by the pair, and even gave the elderly man a kiss on the cheek as she left.

The final two victims lived a couple of doors apart, and Brennan went to their homes on the evening of February 4, asking for money. However, the 90-year-old and the 82-year-old did not have any cash to give her.

Defending, Lyndsay Cox said: “She has pleaded guilty to all these offences.

“She ays she did not target elderly people specifically.

“She has a history of drug abuse, although that has been less of an issue recently.

“She has been in a relationship for two and a half years, and her partner passed away from Hodgkin lymphoma last month.”

But Judge Sean Enright, sentencing, said: “Your method is to target old and infirm people, trick your way in and steal money. The impact on people at that age with difficulties can be very considerate.

“The care of a terminally ill relative can have a large impact on a spouse. But given the offending in this case it does not amount to a reduction in your sentence.”