Doorstep conman behind bars after preying on 91-year-old woman in South Shields
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David Sewell entered a 91-year-old’s home in the Horsley Hill area of South Shields and falsely claimed he was collecting money for a relative who had been cleaning her windows.
But he received a shock when the woman’s son dropped in and caught him inside the house.
Sewell, of Beach Road, South Shields, then the scene empty-handed.
Officers quickly identified Sewell as their prime suspect following the incident in July 2020 and he was arrested.
In interview, he insisted his innocence and continued to claim he was collecting money for his relative’s window cleaning business.
Sewell, 42, pleaded guilty to burglary with the intent to steal at Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday, February 17 – the day his trial was due to start.
He was jailed for 11 months.
Pc Shaun Smith, of Northumbria Police, said: “This is a case of an opportunistic crook trying to take advantage of a vulnerable woman and take her money.
“It is absolutely despicable, and had her son not have returned home when he did, Sewell may well have left with cash that he had absolutely no right to.
“I am pleased he is now serving a jail term and would ask members of the public to be aware of this type of criminality. Please talk to your loved ones, particularly those who are elderly or who may live alone.
“If someone turns up at your door unannounced or is acting suspiciously, do not hand over any money and report it to police.”