A burglar who has made a career out of praying on the elderly and vulnerable has been jailed for nine years.
Michael Alcorn, of Barnes Street, Clayton-le-Moors, was found guilty by a jury at Burnley Crown Court of burgling an 81-year-old dementia sufferer and also breaching an ASBO by distributing leaflets offering his roofing ‘services’.
The court heard how Alcorn ‘targeted’ the victim on Moss Street in Great Harwood only weeks after being released from an eight-month prison sentence for a similar offence.
Alcorn, 49, tampered with elderly victim’s shed guttering and while he was distracted stole £55 from his wallet, the court heard.
A victim impact statement from his family said he was a ‘defenceless old man’ and since the incident had become more ‘nervous and jumpy’.
The statement also said newly installed security measures had left the victim ‘feeling like a prisoner in his own home’.
Douglas Stuart, defending, said there was no violence or weapon used towards the victim and what was stolen was of ‘low value’.
He told the court: “There is no suggestion that he had any prior knowledge or the victim, or knew that he suffered from Alzheimer’s or his exact age.
“The defendant has come to the conclusion he can’t do roofing work or anything like it again and for the future is going to have to find work elsewhere.” Judge Graham Knowles QC told the court how Alcorn had 26 previous convictions including, 13 previous house burglaries and 11 for obtaining by deception or similar fraud offences.
The court heard how in 2000 Alcorn targeted an elderly lady at her home and pretended to be a builder falsely claiming she owed her money for re-tiling her roof.
In another incident he falsely told an elderly man he was carrying out building work nearby and his home needed doing and offered him a quote.
Moments later he walked into his house with intent to steal but when the owned spotted him he left.
In 2005 he approached an elderly woman as she walked home and said he was a painter and decorator and had detained a thief at her house. The court heard how she let him into the house and showed him her savings in a box. He then locked her out of the house before stealing the money.
In 2010 Alcorn fraudulently obtained money from an elderly man by cold calling his house saying he was undertaking roof work but then overcharged him £2,000 for a £160 job.
Judge Knowles said Alcorn said: “All that can protect people from this defendant is incarceration.
“You are a career predator on the vulnerable and elderly. You have been denounced again and again when you have stood in the dock before and none of that has had any effect. It is time for a sentence which speaks for itself and protects people.”