Highgate and Tottenham distraction burglars jailed for 10 years

16:57 18 May 2012

Patrick Collins

Patrick Collins


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.”

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