Man jailed for 10 years after targeting elderly in Stoke-on-Trent in series of burglaries

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A 41-year-old man has been jailed for 10 years after targeting the elderly during a series of burglaries across Staffordshire and North Wales.

Edward Delaney, 41, of Little Meadows, Hilton, Cheshire was jailed at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today (October 5) for his part in the conspiracy to commit distraction burglaries.

Delaney was a part of a gang of four who stole almost £20,000 while targeting the elderly and vulnerable between the ages of 72-94 after claiming they were from the council or the water board.

Since the incident, one of his victims aged 91 who he stole £700 from has died.

The men used a black VW Golf on a cloned plate, which had been stolen from an address in Flintshire, to commit the crimes which unknown to them was fitted with a tracking device.

Delaney was one of four of the men who has been sentenced. The other three still remain at large.

Rebecca Wade, prosecuting, said: “The gang of four started to persuade victims they were from the water board and targeted the elderly as old as 94.

“Mr Delaney played an active role in the offences.”

Their offences during March and April include:

  • Stealing between £10,000 to £11,000 from an elderly couple in their 80s in Great Wyrley in Staffordshire after claiming they were from the water board
  • Stealing £6,000 from an 87-year-old in Meir after claiming to be from the council and there were problems with the water at a nearby derelict pub
  • Tricking their way into another 87-year-old’s house in Meir after she believed they were from the council, they stole £1,500
  • Tricking their way into a 91-year-old man’s house in Sandford Hill and took £700 of his savings and a packet of biscuits
  • One of the men entered a house in Wrexham and kept the 95-year-old victim occupied while between £1,000 and £2,000 was stolen by an accomplice

The gang failed to steal any cash from some of the houses they targeted, the court was told.

But some of the victims still felt vulnerable and described feeling unsafe in their own homes.

The court heard how Delaney has always worked and came from a travelling community although he never went to school.

He has also served prison sentences for similar offences dating back to 1997 and was on licence since committing his latest crimes.

Delaney has suffered two personal tragedies in his life as his cousin committed suicide and his niece died which led him to a “cocktail of drinks and drugs”, the court was told.

Ranjit Lallie, defending, said: “After his first lengthy custodial sentence he’s been kept out of trouble for a number of years.

“He suffers from depression and his escape was drink and drugs.

“He is prepared to educate and better himself. He’s trying to make a change.”

Judge Paul Glenn said: “A number of the victims speak of loss of independence and all you thought about was getting money to fuel your drink and drug use.

“These are truly despicable offenses.”

Delaney was given a 10-year prison sentence, disqualified from driving for 10 years and a 5-year extension on insurance.

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