Jim Chuter, 33 of no fixed address, appeared at Guildford Crown Court on Thursday, 19 May where he was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for a linked series of burglaries committed in London, Surrey and Thames Valley. He had previously pleaded guilty to 26 charges including nine for burglary, sixteen counts of fraud and a robbery.
This follows a joint investigation by detectives from the Met and county forces.
When Met Detective Hannah Woodford reviewed cold case burglaries, the suspect, Chuter, was recognised by a Surrey Police detective who was dealing with similar offences.
Following a joint investigation, Chuter was arrested in August 2020 and was recalled to prison, having been recently released on licence for similar offences. He was later charged with multiple counts of burglary and fraud, fourteen of which took place in London.
Chuter’s London offences of burglary and fraud took place between September 2019 and July 2020 in the areas of Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Kingston.
He would typically target elderly people, usually living alone, and pretend to be a council employee or a builder and demanded payment for building works that had not been carried out.
The offences were carried out during the height of the Covid pandemic, Chuter took advantage of the fact that many of the victims were unable to see their families and were entirely alone.
He would callously use distraction techniques to get into the victim’s home and once inside he would steal from them and use other scam tactics to con them out of their cash.
Once he had been inside their homes, he would continue to hound the victims, phoning and intimidating them into paying more money for work that had never been done.
He targeted one 90-year-old man for several months stealing the man’s entire life savings of £25,000.
Investigating for the Met, Detective Constable Hannah Woodford said: “Chuter is a career criminal whose cowardly offences were committed against vulnerable and frail people at a time when they were already living with the worries and loneliness of pandemic life.
“As police, we understand that the effects of being a victim of crime go far beyond a loss of property and my thoughts are with Chuter’s many victims and their families. I hope that the considerable sentence handed down brings them some comfort and a sense of justice.”
The Judge sentencing Chuter described his activities as a ‘campaign of dishonesty.’
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