Pensioner distraction burglars jailed

PUBLISHED: 14:33 10 December 2010

William Chalmers

William Chalmers

Archant

TWO pensioners have been jailed for conning even older people out of cash and jewellery.

Michael Ramm

William Chalmers, 68, and Michael Ramm, 65, tricked their way into homes across four counties – including ones in WGC and Hatfield – by posing as utility workers.

While one kept the victims occupied in a room, the other rifled through the rest of the house and stole their belongings.

In some cases sentimental items, including a widow’s wedding ring, were taken as well as cash, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Alan Landsbury said the men operated between March last year and June this year.

"These two men have prolifically targeted elderly and vulnerable people. Their actions have had a huge impact on the victims’ lives, leaving many extremely traumatised.
These men would use any opportunity or excuse to get into their victims’ homes and, sadly, people did fall prey to them."

Detective constable Steve Johnson, from Operation Manhunt

He said: “The victims were aged between 73 and 96.

“One of the defendants would enter the elderly person’s house using a ploy ranging from working for the gas board, electricity board and local council.

“Once inside they got the elderly person into a room and would often place a ladder against the door to prevent them leaving while carrying out a bogus inspection.

“The resident is encouraged to stay with that person while the rest of the property was free for the second person to come on the scene and steal money and other goods.”

Leon Kazakos, for Ramm, said his client, had been employed at a warehouse in 2009 where there had been a downturn in work.

“He had been concerned for his fiscal well being, but now accepts he damaged the fiscal wellbeing of others,” he said.

The father-of-four felt remorse, Mr Kazakos added.

Jemma Levinson, defending Chalmers, said the dad-of-three wanted to apologise to his victims.

“He recognises he made their lives a misery,” she said.

Chalmers of Bell Avenue, Romford, admitted three burglaries and asked for eight to be taken into consideration.

Ramm of Henniker Gate, Chelmsford, pleaded guilty to eight burglaries.

Two of their victims lived in WGC, and another two – including a 95-year-old woman – in Hatfield.

They were both jailed for three years, nine months.

Judge Martin Griffiths told them: “You targeted vulnerable victims. Despite your age, they were older than you.”

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