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Friday, 10 July 2020 - 8:43pm

Distraction burglar who targeted disabled Rushcliffe woman is jailed

The victim tried to get a price from Collins but he asked to be paid in advance. She then went to her bedroom to get her purse, followed by Collins.

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A distraction burglar who targeted a disabled 71-year-old woman in Gotham has been locked up for more than six years.

Dean Collins, 42, knocked at the woman’s door offering gardening services. 

She said she did need her garden doing and invited him into her home so he could go through the kitchen and into her back garden to see what needed doing.

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The victim tried to get a price from Collins but he asked to be paid in advance. She then went to her bedroom to get her purse, followed by Collins.

He then took the purse from her, emptied it onto a side table and took the cash before walking out the front door. He didn’t return to do any work.

Collins, formerly of Abbotsford Drive, Nottingham, was identified after Nottinghamshire Police published a media appeal with CCTV images of the suspect following the incident on 12 August 2019.

A woman who saw the appeal recognised Collins and called the police who later arrested him. 

Collins appeared at Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on Tuesday (17 March 2020) after pleading guilty to burglary. He also admitted two counts of breaching a community behaviour order.

He was jailed for a total of six years and nine months.

    Police Constable Richard Shaw, of Nottinghamshire Police’s dedicated County Burglary Team, said: “This was a despicable crime which saw Collins prey upon an elderly and frail woman.

    “I hope the fact he is now behind bars and unable to target further victims will provide some comfort to her.”

    He added: “Burglary is a particularly upsetting and invasive crime which can leave victims feeling unsafe in their own homes.

    “Your home should be your refuge and no-one should be left feeling this way.

    “If anyone is unsure of the identity of persons visiting them and who is not expecting anyone to come to their home I’d urge them to not answer their front door. 

    “Check you have locked the back door and taken the key out. Look through a spy hole or window to see who the caller is.

    “Official callers will always make an appointment in advance. If you are still unsure, call the company concerned to verify their representative’s identity before letting anyone in. If you’re still not sure ask the caller to come back later when someone is with you.”

    Burglary has been identified as a top neighbourhood policing priority for the Rushcliffe borough, with efforts ongoing to tackle an issue which local residents have told us matters to them.

    Now Nottinghamshire Police is encouraging communities across the county to have their say on local policing priorities after the force launched its new ‘what matters’ neighbourhood policing priority survey.

    The ‘what matters’ survey – one of the biggest public consultation exercises in the force’s history – will give the public a genuine opportunity to influence where police focus their efforts in their area.

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