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John Gallagher and John Kerrigan, jailed after distraction burglaries in Watford
Two distraction burglars from East London who targeted an 88-year-old man and his disabled wife in their Watford home were jailed for a total of 10 years nine months today.
John Gallagher, 43, was one of two men who tricked the 88-year-old man out of £150 when he called at his home in Caractacus Green, Watford, on May 15 last year.
The victim, Mr Amir Khan, was told there was a problem with the drains and that blue water was coming out in a neighbour's kitchen.
In an attempt to find out where the Khans kept their money, he was asked to change a £20 note, said George Heimler prosecuting at St Albans crown court.
While Mr Khan was kept talking, an accomplice took the money from a box under a dressing table in the bedroom. It had been the couple's intention to donate it to their local Mosque.
When spoken to by the police later Mr Khan said he was OK but his disabled wife had been scared by what had happened.
Ten days later, Gallagher went to the ground floor flat of an 88-year-old woman in Borehamwood where he posed as a water company workman before disappearing with £100.
Three months later Gallagher and John Kerrigan, 41, were arrested after trying to trick their way into two more homes in Borehamwood.
Gallagher of Ambleside Close, Leyton, pleaded guilty to two burglaries and one attempted burglary. He had 18 previous offences, including nine burglaries, eight of which were distraction burglaries, said Mr Heimler.
Kerrigan, of the same address, pleaded guilty to two attempted burglaries. He had 19 previous offences. At the time of the offence he had been released on licence from an eight year prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.
Recorder Amanda Tipples QC said: "Distraction burglaries are particularly unpleasant and nasty as they involve preying on the elderly and vulnerable. They blight the lives of the elderly who live in fear of a knock on the door."
She sentenced Gallagher to six years 9 months and Kerrigan to four years in jail. Kerrigan was also banned from driving for a year.