Kevin Arthur Appleby, 47 and of Wimborne Road in Bournemouth, was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court on Tuesday 5 January 2021 after previously pleading guilty to eight counts of burglary, fraud and possession of a controlled drug of class A. He was also made the subject of a criminal behaviour order that is in place for 15 years and prohibits him from going door to door knocking for business. He can place a leaflet through the letter box or door offering his services.
At around 6pm on Thursday 10 October 2019 an elderly woman was in her home on Bingham Road when she heard the doorbell ring. The victim answered the door to a man who gave his name as “Kevin” and offered to fix her guttering for £20.
Appleby entered the property uninvited while the victim went to get money out of her purse. He distracted the victim by asking questions about the gutter, before he left the address via the back door and said he would return the next day to complete the work.
The victim later discovered that her purse containing £110 in cash was missing, as well as two Dewalt drills and two model planes from a shed at the property.
Appleby was arrested on Sunday 13 October 2019 and a search of his address was carried out. Two model planes were located. He was also found in possession of a controlled drug of class A when he was arrested.
A further incident occurred between Monday 30 September and Monday 21 October 2019 when Appleby knocked on the window of a property on Malvern Road and spoke to the elderly occupant. He stated that he had been called to the neighbouring address following flood damage and wanted to make sure that the victim’s property had not also been damaged.
Appleby looked around the property for any damage and left a short time later. The victim subsequently discovered that his wallet containing £100 in cash was missing from the lounge.
On Tuesday 22 October 2019 Appleby went back to the address and told the victim his roof needed repairing. Despite the victim saying he didn’t want the repair work to be carried out, Appleby would not take no for an answer and lowered the price of his quote.
The victim eventually agreed after Appleby insisted and left the property saying he was going to get supplies. When he left, the victim noticed £20 was missing from inside his address.
Another incident occurred at around 5pm on Friday 24 May 2019 in Heathwood Road when an elderly woman answered her door to Appleby, who stated he needed access to her rear garden as he was carrying out repairs next door. He was in the garden for around five minutes before returning to the door to ask for a glass of water.
When the victim returned with the glass, he had already entered the house and was in the lounge. He gave her a note with his contact details on and these details were later linked to Appleby. He returned the following day to continue carrying out work and the victim noticed that cash had been stolen from her property.
A similar incident occurred in Edgehill Road on Sunday 26 May 2019 where Appleby asked to borrow money from an elderly woman he had known for two months. He returned the following day and asked for water while standing outside the front door. The victim later discovered that her purse containing £40 in cash had been stolen, as well as bank cards and other various items.
A further incident occurred between Friday 12 June and Monday 15 June 2020 when Appleby carried out work on a property in the Boscombe area. During this time, the victim discovered that a large quantity of cash had been stolen.
Appleby was also sentenced in connection with a burglary on Thursday 28 March 2019.
Detective Constable Michelle Lawrence, of Dorset Police, said: “Appleby persistently targeted elderly residents and made them believe they needed repair work to be carried out to their houses.
“He was devious in his behaviour and purposefully targeted vulnerable members of our community over a prolonged period of time.
“I am pleased that through our investigation we were able to identify Appleby as the culprit and bring him to justice.
“I would also urge residents to be wary of letting anyone they don’t know into their home as sadly there are always offenders such as Appleby who will take advantage of others.”