A pair of serial burglars who stole vans and targeted elderly people in their own homes have been jailed.
Thomas Hutchinson, 51, and Teresa Gaskin, 45, went on a stealing spree in August and September of last year.
In one burglary, on the evening of 28 August, Hutchinson and an unidentified accomplice called at the home of a man in his 80s in Stanground, Peterborough. As he came to the door they threw a plant pot through a side window, striking him on the head.
They entered and pinned the victim on a sofa, before stealing items including a television, laptop, mobile phone, and Sky box. They fled in a van being driven by Gaskin.
On Tuesday (17 January), at Huntingdon Law Courts, Hutchinson, and Gaskin, both of Station Road, March, were jailed for seven years and seven months and six years and four months, respectively.
Hutchinson had admitted seven counts of burglary, four of theft of a motor vehicle and two of fraud, while Gaskin had admitted nine counts of burglary, four of theft of a motor vehicle and two of fraud.
Their crime spree had started on 6 August when they broke into a business premises in Marwick Road, March.
Hutchinson found keys to a van parked outside the building and drove it away. The van was recovered in the Coventry area later that month.
The pair returned to the premises between 26 August and 28 August, breaking in again and stealing another van.
On 27 August they were captured on CCTV breaking into the back garden of a property in Bassenhally Road, Whittlesey. From there Hutchinson went into the house and stole a handbag, passing it to Gaskin as he left.
On 29 August and 7 September, Gaskin and Hutchinson stole two more vans from businesses in Royce Road and Fengate, Peterborough.
The van stolen on 29 August was successfully recovered several hours later, being used by two known associates of Gaskin.
Late on 6 September they stole a handbag from a property in Thistle Drive, Stanground. The following day the victim woke to a message from her bank about an unusual transaction on her card.
Gaskin and Hutchinson completed or attempted six transactions using the victim’s cards. On one occasion they were captured on CCTV getting out of the van stolen in the early hours of 7 September.
When the vehicle was recovered by police the stolen bank cards were discovered inside.
At about 11.45am on 7 September Gaskin went to the property of another elderly man in Mellows Close, Peterborough. She persuaded the victim, who is in his 80s, to let her into the property and when he was distracted stole his wallet.
Finally, on 10 September, Gaskin went to a property in Oundle Road, Peterborough, where she again distracted the resident, a man in his 70s, and stole his wallet. Gaskin was later captured on CCTV using his bank cards in Asda, Rivergate.
Following the sentencing, DC Matt Reed said: “During this series of burglaries Gaskin and Hutchinson clearly thought nothing of stealing from people and believed they could act with impunity.
“They callously targeted elderly and vulnerable people in these despicable crimes. I’m pleased they have been brought to justice and jailed for their crimes.
“We know the devastating psychological, as well as financial, impact crimes like this can have on the victims. It’s a force priority to tackle burglary and we will do all we can to bring offenders before the courts.”