Bedforshire BREAKING Wisbech

A woman who has 31 previous convictions for theft offences has been jailed for more than five years for burgling vulnerable people in Fenland and Bedford

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Melissa Hopkins, 36, admitted entering a home in Southwell Road, Wisbech, on 3 April this year with another woman who was known to the 65-year-old occupant.
She knocked on the door of the vulnerable woman’s home and, believing she was a carer, the woman let the pair in.
Once inside, Hopkins asked to use the toilet, and without waiting for the victim to reply, she made her way upstairs while the other woman waited with the victim.
A short while later, Hopkins returned downstairs and claimed the pair needed to get some paperwork from their car but didn’t go back into the home.
Soon after the pair left, the victim went upstairs to find her handbag and purse containing several bank cards and £500 in cash had gone.
Later that day, the women returned to the house and chatted with the victim in her living room however a genuine carer who has upstairs heard the voices and told the pair to leave.
The carer noticed the victim’s purse had been placed on the stairs and called police to report a distraction burglary.
Hopkins was caught on CCTV using the victim’s bank cards to withdraw £300 in cash and purchase items worth £102 from Tesco.
Further attempts were made to use the cards, however they had been cancelled by police.
Enquiries led officers to identify the woman as Hopkins who was arrested in Norfolk in August.
Upon her arrest, a search of the Police National Computer (PNC) revealed Hopkins was wanted for a burglary in Bedfordshire.
On 20 May, Hopkins knocked on the door of an 87-year-old man’s home in Oak Road, Bedford, presenting a loaf of bread and milk and claiming she was providing food to elderly people due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the false pretences, she was let into the property and again asked if she could use the toilet and proceeded to make her way upstairs.
Becoming suspicious of the woman in his home, the elderly victim made his way up the stairs but was met by Hopkins running down the stairs, knocking him off-balance.
Hopkins searched the man’s trouser pockets and removed his wallet before running out of the house.
After the incident, the victim noticed the telephone line had been pulled out of the socket and his will and personal paperwork had been removed from a chest of drawers in his bedroom.
Police were alerted and forensic officers were sent out to examine the property, discovering fingerprints on a window and the loaf of bread left by Hopkins, both of which matched her prints.
Hopkins, of Edinburgh Drive in Wisbech, was charged with two counts of burglary and fraud by false representation which she admitted in court.
She appeared at Peterborough Crown Court on Thursday (3 December) where she was sentenced to a total of five years and three months in prison.
DC Tom Hunt said: “Hopkins has a significant history of offending, the majority of which are theft offences. From her latest convictions it is clear she was targeting vulnerable people and at a time when as a nation we are facing particularly difficult times, she took advantage of this.
“I would urge anyone with elderly or vulnerable friends, family or neighbours to make themselves familiar with the advice we offer in relation to bogus callers and distraction burglaries, and pass this information on.”