Woman, 36, with 31 previous convictions for theft jailed for five years
- Credit: Archant
A woman with 31 previous convictions for theft was jailed for more than five years for burgling vulnerable people in Fenland and Bedford.
Melissa Hopkins, 36, admitted entering a home in Southwell Road, Wisbech, on April 3 with another woman who was known to the 65-year-old occupant.
She knocked on the door of the woman’s home and, believing she was a carer, the woman let the pair in.
Once inside, Hopkins asked to use the toilet, and made her way upstairs while the other woman waited with the victim.
Hopkins returned downstairs and claimed the pair needed to get some paperwork from their car but didn’t go back into the home.
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Soon after, 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 was upstairs heard the voices and told the pair to leave.
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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 and spent £102 at 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 revealed Hopkins was wanted for a burglary in Bedfordshire.
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 (December 3) 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.”