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Burglar posing as 'water board' worker who stolen from vulnerable Burslem woman jailed

A man who posed as someone from the ‘water board’ and stole cash from a vulnerable lady’s Stoke-on-Trent home during lockdown has been jailed.

The city's Crown Court heard 54-year-old Thomas Doherty, of Linehouses caravan site, knocked on a woman in her 60s door on Scotia Road in Burslem around 5.20pm on Monday 18 May.

He said he worked for the water board, and she had a blockage at the address and he needed to come into the house.

The vulnerable woman let the man in, but concerns were raised when a friend visiting her became suspicious about Doherty.

After the 54-year-old left the property, the woman discovered that £20 in cash was taken.

Doherty was identified through CCTV and officers went to his address to arrest him.

After pleading guilty to burglary, he was jailed on Monday (22 June) for 44 months.

Detective Sergeant Andy Durber, from Force CID, said: “The elderly and vulnerable are often targets for distraction burglars, especially during lockdown when a lot of the elderly were at home.

“In this case, Doherty took advantage and claimed to be from the water board. These sort of crimes can really leave people shaken and Staffordshire Police will work to bring those offenders to justice – such as in this case.

“We continue to urge people to be vigilant if they are approached at their home by anyone offering trade services or claiming to be from an organisation. Always ask for identification and if you are not expecting anyone or don’t have an appointment, do not let them into your home.

“Keep all valuable and money in a safe location and contact people immediately if you have any suspicions about doorstep callers.”

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