A third man has been sentenced in connection with a spate of 35 predatory thefts from elderly people, including eight in Herts.
Working alongside his brother and father, Jesse Webb, 19 and of The Paddocks, Lyne Road in Surrey, would travel far and wide looking for older people to accost in the street, follow home and demand money for work which had never been completed on their homes.
hese really were shameful crimes and it’s beyond belief that they could stoop so low to pick out their victims and follow them home, and then make them believe they had carried out repairs to their house and harass them for money.
The family trio would stop the victims, usually close to their homes, claim they had completed roofing work on their property and had returned to collect payment for the work.
Often their victims, some of whom suffered from memory impairment through dementia or Alzheimer’s, would believe the pair. In some cases the victim would give them cash from their home or if they didn’t have cash, they would drive them to their bank to withdraw large sums of money.
Upon entering the victim’s house, they would also commit a distraction burglary, distracting the victim whilst the other searched the house for more cash.
The complex investigation to bring the callous crooks to justice was led by Herts Police’s specialist investigation team Operation Manhunt.
Investigators linked a series of eight incidents in Herts, including two in Tring, one in Berkhamsted and another in Hemel Hempstead, and then worked with other police forces to painstakingly piece together further offences.
In total they uncovered 35 offences on victims mostly in their 80s and 90s, committed between February 2012 and October 2014 in Herts, Avon & Somerset, Hampshire, Oxford and Surrey.
In total, it is believed they gained £15,000 from their crimes and officers are starting proceedings to confiscate their criminal gains under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The vehicle used during the crimes, a silver Mercedes C200, has already been confiscated by police.
Jesse’s brother, 26 year old, Jimmy Chuter of Montrose Avenue, Datchet and his father, 51 year old Albert Webb of Loncin Mead Avenue, New Haw, Addlestone appeared at St Albans Crown Court on January 21 and pleaded guilty.
Chuter was sentenced to four years for conspiracy to defraud. Webb was sentenced to 3½ years for conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to defraud and a stand-alone charge of fraud for a historic matter. This sentence will run consecutive to a sentence of 3½ years received in December 2014 at Worcester Crown court for similar offences committed whilst on bail.
Jesse was arrested after a wanted appeal was issued by police after the sentencing in January. He appeared at St Albans Crown Court on March 2 and pleaded guilty. Yesterday he was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
Det Con Kieran Doyle from Operation Manhunt said: “We were able to arrest his father and brother and bring them before the courts but Jesse evaded police so upon their sentencing, we issued a wanted appeal to trace Jesse.
“We received information which led us to him and I’m pleased that he has had his day in court.
“These really were shameful crimes and it’s beyond belief that they could stoop so low to pick out their victims and follow them home, and then make them believe they had carried out repairs to their house and harass them for money.
“In Operation Manhunt we will leave no stone unturned to identify these criminals and ensure they are taken off the streets so we can protect some of the most vulnerable in our community. I hope this sends a warning to others that no matter where you commit your crime, we will uncover the full extent of your criminality and track you down.”