JAILED: Crook caught on camera distracting woman, 78, in burglary

Martin Sweeney
Martin Sweeney

A Stoke Mandeville man who distracted a vulnerable pensioner while his accomplices stole £600 from her has today been jailed for more than two and a half years.

Martin Sweeney, of Marsh Lane, pretended to be doing water works and got the 78-year-old victim to take him to the back of her Parsons Lane home, in Bierton, while two other men sneaked upstairs and stole the cash.

Sweeney’s defence lawyer told Aylesbury Crown Court that he was ‘ashamed’ by his actions, claiming he committed the crime to help pay off a drug debt.

Sentencing Sweeney, 38, to 32 months in prison, Judge Patricia Lynch told him the crime was likely to have caused the victim trauma and have a permanent impact on her.

The court heard the victim had previously been targeted by burglars and as a result had installed CCTV in her home.

This captured Sweeney talking his way into the house and going to the back of the property with the victim at about 10am on October 8 this year.

Sweeney, who has 19 previous convictions for 33 offences, told her there was going to be work done in the area for about a week and asked to see a manhole cover at the back of her home.

The CCTV also showed two other men entering and leaving the home.

The victim did not realise she had been burgled until after they had left.

Sweeney admitted the offence after being shown the CCTV.

Mo Dampha, defending, said: “He is fully ashamed of his actions and so are his family.

“His previous convictions stem from his drug addiction. He hopes at some stage to rid himself of it.”

The court heard that Sweeney and his family had got £600 together to give to the victim as compensation.

Judge Lynch said it was one of the ‘most unpleasant’ types of burglary.

She said: “The offence is one of great harm and high culpability.

“The aggravating features are that the occupier was present in her home and because of her vulnerability there’s likely to be trauma beyond what would normally be expected and a permanent impact as far as she is concerned.”