Highgate and Tottenham distraction burglars jailed for 10 years

16:57 18 May 2012

Patrick Collins

Patrick Collins

Archant

A pair of men from Highgate and another from Tottenahm have been jailed for more than 10 years for a spate of distraction burglaries targeting elderly and vulnerable people.

Four victims, including an 84-year-old woman living alone in Woodford, Essex, and a 51-year-old disabled woman in Greenwich, south London, were singled out by the trio, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

During the burglaries, carried out last November, 21-year old Jonathon McCarthy, of Bream Close, Tottenham Hale, claimed he was doing building work next door and was checking for water leaks.

His brother, Patrick Collins, 29, of Maurice Bishop Terrace in View Road, Highgate, acted as a ‘creeper’. He entered the properties and stole more than £500 cash from a 78-year-old man and jewellery from another victim. Collins’ father-in-law Francis Gavin, 44, who lived with Collins, was the getaway driver.

No property was stolen from the disabled woman in Greenwich, as she disturbed Collins in her home. The trio all pleaded guilty to burglary in court on Wednesday, May 16.

McCarthy was jailed for three years and four months, Gavin received two years six months, and Collins was given four years and three months.

The burglaries were linked by officers in Operation Griswold, run by the Metropolitan Police Service’s London Crime Squad, who identified the vehicles used in each incident.

Its Det Insp John Cracknell said: “I am really pleased with the convictions and sentences given to these men who deliberately targeted vulnerable people. Such was the amount of evidence gathered against them that they had no option but to plead guilty.

“Distraction burglars use very convincing reasons to get into your home. Always ask to see their identification and check it thoroughly, even if they’re wearing uniforms. Don’t let them in if you are not sure.

“We are committed to using our expertise and professionalism, to ensure we bring these criminals to justice.”

Latest Stories

The M25 is experiencing southbound delays neard the Dartford Crossing [Picture by Darren Meacher under a Creative Commons license]

There are delays of up to half an hour on the clockwise/southbound M25 near the Dartford Crossing after a car caught fire at 10:20am. The fire has been extinguished and recovery of the car is now being arranged. All anticlockwise lanes are now moving normally.

Read more
The Job Centre at 120-122 Deptford High Street in its original incarnation in 2008. Although the pub keeps the name, it has not kept the distinctive green and yellow sign [Photo from Google StreetView]

Campaigners have criticised a ‘poor taste’ pub that has opened in a disused Job Centre on Deptford High Street – and kept the name.

Read more
The street is partially closed after an accident  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The A4 Strand is partially closed this morning after a collision between a scooter and a van.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Take our quiz and see how much you know about the Wimbledon Tennis Championships (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Do you know SW19 like the back of your hand? From Henman Hill to Centre Court, Fred Perry to Andy Murray? Well then you should ace our Wimbledon quiz:

Read more
Croatia's Daniel Prajnic, France's Paul Pogba and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo... three hair-raising World Cup stars (Picture: Archant/Getty)

The World Cup is a showcase of fantastic football... and terrible hairstyles. Try this quiz and test your knowledge of the wackiest barnets in Brazil.

Read more
World Cup countries quiz

It's about time you refreshed your brains about the countries competing in Brazil.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
Instead of actually going to a park, take our quiz about them... (Picture: Warrick Page/Getty Images)

Think-Kew have got what it takes?

Read more