Two teenagers who deliberately preyed on an elderly woman knowing she was vulnerable have been jailed for nine months each.
Kieran Ralston, 18, and Callum Holden, 19, both of no fixed address, told police they knew their 80-year-old victim was a “soft touch” when they were arrested on suspicion of burglary with intent to steal.
The pair were sentenced yesterday, at Preston Crown Court, to time in a Young Offenders Institution after pleading guilty to the charge.
The court heard they were with friends on Primrose Park, Blackpool, on the afternoon of August 24 last year when they approached the woman, who they both knew had mental health problems.
Feigning friendship, the teens, who both have previous convictions, managed to get the woman’s house keys and Ralston went to her address on Kincraig Place on his bike.
Holden told the woman he would retrieve them and went after his friend, also followed by the woman and the group of youths – following Ralston as if the “Pied Piper of Hamelin”, said his defence lawyer Daniel Harman.
The pair let themselves into the home and searched the property before locking the door and leaving through a window, dumping the keys down a nearby drain. The court heard there was no evidence anything was taken.
Paul Robinson, defending Holden, described it as a “totally shambolic, unsophisticated and hopeless endeavour”. The court heard the woman was vulnerable and regularly targeted and pestered for sweets and money.
It was this, said the judge, Recorder Robert Crawford, that meant the pair would be jailed. He said: “You intended to steal from an elderly lady who was vulnerable.”
Rejecting a plea for a suspended sentence, which the defence said would hang over their heads like the “sword of Damocles”, the recorder handed down a nine-month custodial sentence to each of the defendants and ordered them both to pay a £100 victims surcharge.