Woman with 188 previous convictions posed as police officer to steal from South Shields OAP, 91
A serial criminal who posed as a police officer to steal cash from a 91-year-old man has been jailed.
Ann Simpson told her victim she had been despatched to his home in South Shields in July to help him find safe places to hide cash then made off with £150 after a struggle that left him with an injured finger.
The 33-year-old had already been at the pensioner's house the previous day, when she claimed to have been the victim of an attack and was given £10 and invited in before she took a cash tin containing around £40 and his wallet.
The victim said in a statement about the first offence: "I am upset that the female didn't thank me when I was giving her the £10. It is not nice when you are trying to help someone and they just steal from you."
In a statement about the second visit, the victim said: "I trusted this female. I put my trust in her as I believed she was in the police.
"I am 91 and not as mobile as I used to be. I did what I could to try and get my money back and defend myself and my wife."
Simpson, of no fixed address, has 188 previous convictions and had just been released from jail when she targeted the victim.
She pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary in relation to the pensioner.
She also admitted burglary at the home, also in South Shields, of a woman she knew, who is in poor health.
Simpson had pushed past the woman when she answered her door, demanded money and warned "I don't want to have to hurt you" before the victim's son intervened and threw her out, empty handed.
Mr recorder Keith Miller told Simpson : "You have one of the worst records I have seen for a woman of your age."
The judge sentenced her to three years behind bars and told her: "The complainant, on the first occasion, was decent enough to give you £10 to try and help you out, nevertheless you took a cash box and wallet from him.
"On the following day you returned again, purporting to be a police officer."
The court heard a long term drug problem is at the heart of Simpson's offending.
The judge said: "it is a sad feature of this country that it is becoming overwhelmed, it seems, and the courts in particular are becoming overwhelmed with cases involving people who are quite decent but for the fact they are addicted to class A drugs.
"It brings misery not only to the user but those who are the target of their criminality."
Penny Hall, defending, said Simpson is "completely ashamed of herself" and is disgusted by what she did.