A PAIR of distraction burglars from Chester have been sentenced to a total of five years imprisonment.
Kirk Whelan and Kevin Hill, both 42, were sentenced after being found guilty of a burglary at Morton Road, Blacon, on June 18.
Whelan pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing, but Hill went to trial and was found guilty by a jury at Knutsford Crown Court.
Following his guilty plea, Whelan, of Hatton Road, was sentenced to two years imprisonment. Hill, of Lynwood Road, Blacon, was sentenced to three years imprisonment after being found guilty.
The court heard Hill and Whelan, posing as workmen, entered the house of an 86-year-old man claiming they were there to fix the toilet.
While in the house they distracted the elderly man and managed to steal £200 cash, a wallet and a bank card.
Fortunately three local women noticed Hill and Whelan entering the house and, thinking the activity was suspicious, knocked at the door to find out what was going on.
Confronted by the women, Hill and Whelan made excuses and left.
Shortly afterwards the victim and the women discovered the thefts and alerted police to the crime.
And the witnesses had a further part to play as their local knowledge, together with detective work by Cheshire Police’s Western Area, led to the quick identification of Hill and Whelan, who were arrested an hour after the initial offence.
Detective Constable Vicki Lee, of the Proactive Policing Team, said: “We are pleased with the guilty verdict returned on Kevin Hill and the early plea from Kirk Whelan. This, like the majority of distraction burglary offences, was committed against an elderly resident and shows the depths to which criminals such as Hill and Whelan are prepared to sink.
“The sentences reflect the serious nature of the crime and send a clear message that the criminal justice system will not think twice about taking positive action against those who prey on vulnerable people.”
She added: “I would like to thank the three neighbours of the elderly victim who not only witnessed what happened, but were prepared to challenge the criminals.
“This was an excellent example of genuine community spirit and their involvement was vital in gaining a successful conviction.”
The son of the victim added: “The three women who helped my dad are unbelievable good neighbours. Without them we might never have known he had been burgled.
“What they did was marvellous and is something you don’t see a lot these days.
“They stood up to the burglars because they care about an elderly neighbour and I can’t thank them enough.
“The police have also been brilliant right from the start.
He added: “They have kept us informed with everything that has happened and DC Vicki Lee and the people at victim support have been great with us.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved for all the help and support we have received.”