BUR­GLARY GANG JAILED FOR TAR­GET­ING EL­DERLY

One pen­sioner vic­tim of fraud­sters was punched re­peat­edly in the face dur­ing break-in

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by KATY CLIFTON katy.clifton@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @Katy_Clifton1

A GANG has been given a col­lec­tive jail term of more than 20 years af­ter tar­get­ing “el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble” de­men­tia suf­fer­ers dur­ing a string of bur­glar­ies, rob­beries and fraud of­fences.

Ruben Smith, 33, of no fixed abode, West­ley Har­cup, 39, of Monks­field Way, Slough, and Sarah Belcher, 40, of Bram­mas Close, Slough, pleaded guilty to of­fences at Reading Crown Court on Tues­day June 13.

The in­ci­dents took place in Chal­font St Peter, Iver, Slough and Wind­sor and in­cluded some el­derly vic­tims be­ing as­saulted or threat­ened with weapons.

One of the pen­sion­ers tar­geted was re­peat­edly punched in the face af­ter the of­fend­ers broke into a house in the mid­dle of the night. Dur­ing the string of of­fences, which took place be­tween De­cem­ber 23 last year and Jan­uary 7 2017, the bur­glars stole bank cards, cash, jewellery and a ve­hi­cle.

Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of bur­glary, two counts of fraud and one count of rob­bery and was jailed for nine-and-a-half years.

Har­cup pleaded guilty to two counts of rob­bery, two counts of bur­glary and one count of fraud and re­ceived a 12year prison sen­tence.

Belcher pleaded guilty to one count of bur­glary and was re­ceived a twoyear prison sen­tence.

They were all ar­rested on Jan­uary 7 this year and were charged the fol­low­ing day.

Thames Val­ley Po­lice’s in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer, De­tec­tive Con­sta­ble Katy Lewis of Lo­cal CID, con­demned the at­tack on the vul­ner­a­ble vic­tims in Buck­ing­hamshire and Berk­shire.

She said: “The vic­tims in these of­fences are all el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble, with some vic­tims suf­fer­ing from de­men­tia.

“They were tar­geted by the de­fen­dants be­cause of their vul­ner­a­bil­ity and also be­cause many of the prop­er­ties were in re­mote areas.

“All the vic­tims have been in their homes dur­ing the of­fence with some com­mit­ted in the mid­dle of the night.

“I am pleased that Ruben Smith, West­ley Har­cup and Sarah Belcher have been sen­tenced to a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod in jail for these heinous crimes on some of the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in our com­mu­ni­ties.”

(From left) West­ley Har­cup, Ruben Smith and Sarah Belcher have all been jailed

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