A BURGLARY gang who posed as detectives to con their way into pensioners’ homes and target their life savings have been ordered to pay back just £1 each.
Paul Momat was at the head of a crime team who carried clipboards, bogus search warrants and paperwork to convince pre-selected vulnerable victims that they must hand over cash or face going to jail.
The gang, which included Carl Hudson, Gareth Carey and Simon Lancaster, used latex gloves to carry out thorough searches and even put on fake accents in a bid to be convincing and try to avoid being caught. Newcastle Crown Court heard in December last year how one 68-year-old stroke victim, who was the mother of an actual police officer, handed over £25,000 that had taken her over thirty years to save up.
The victim, whose son is a police officer, told police she was terrified and felt such a fool after handing over her life savings but said the pair were “so plausible and credible”.
One couple, who handed over £4,500, was kidnapped from their home and taken to one of their elderly parents’ houses so they too could be ripped off by over £5,000.
The gang also targeted a workman who was convinced to come from Scotland to get a cheap deal on some equipment.
He was ordered to hand over his van, phone and £7,500 in cash to men, who were carrying handcuffs and issuing jail threats while posing as cops.
The men claimed the search warrants were obtained under the Proceeds of Crime Act and allowed them to remove any cash the victims had in their homes.
In December last year, Momat, of HMP Northumberland, was sentenced to six years in prison after admitting conspiracy to burgle and steal.
The 28-year-old, originally of Ferry Approach, South Shields, was already serving eight years behind bars for masterminding an armed raid at a businessman’s home.
Carey, 26, of Lisle Road, South Shields, was sentenced to five years for conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to steal and kidnap, which he admitted.
Hudson, 26, of Redhead Avenue, South Shields, got four years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to burgle and kidnap.
Hudson previously received a two year prison term for his involvement in the workman scam.
Lancaster, 23, of Low Lane, South Shields, admitted conspiracy to burgle and steal and kidnap and was sentenced to three and a half years behind bars.
At the time, Prosecutor James Adkin told the court: “Almost all of the offences have a particular feature, that the victims are targeted and those who commit the offences appear to be armed with confidential information about the personal circumstances of their victims and the fact they had ready access to cash.
“It is still unclear exactly how the defendants came by this information but on any view the offences are carefully co-ordinated with the victims specifically selected.”
At Newcastle Crown Court today (TUES) James Adkin, prosecuting, told the court how Paul Momat, Gareth Carey and Carl Hudson each benefited from £39,700.
For each defendant Recorder Paul Reid put a confiscation order in place for £1.
Simon Lancaster benefited from £4,500 and was also ordered to pay back £1.