A fraudster who posed as a police sergeant in an attempt to swindle money from elderly residents has been jailed for five years.
Derby Crown Court heard how John Carty forced a number of “vulnerable” victims to hand over thousands of pounds by “frightening” them into believing they would be in trouble if they didn’t do as he said.
He and his gang targeted elderly people in Derbyshire, Sheffield and Rotherham.
Jailing him, Recorder David Mason QC said: “The victims are aged from their 60s to 83, all of the were significantly intimidated by you and all of them have suffered some kind of trauma.
“You pretended to be a police officer and these victims were sufficiently vulnerable to believe you,”
The court heard how a brother and sister, aged 81 and 79, were targeted in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, over a three-day period at the end of May.
Abigail Joyce, prosecuting, said an accomplice of Carty knocked on the door of the victims and showed them fake ID telling them he was a police officer.
He told them a judge had ordered they were not allowed to keep any more than £300 in cash at their address and that his sergeant, who was Carty, would call later that day to collect the money.
The couple believed them and handed over up to £7,000 in cash. He then called the following two days, making them walk to their bank and withdraw more cash.
Further burglaries and attempted burglaries took place in South Yorkshire and north Derbyshire between March and May.
One each occasion, Carty and his gang would pose as police officers with fakes ID documents to try and gain entry.
The first happened Catherine Avenue, Rotherham, when they told an 83-year-old man he was not allowed to keep large quantities of cash in the house.
The victim became suspicious and said he was going to speak to a neighbour but when he came back £2000 that had been in his wallet on the sofa had been stolen.
In May they targeted a 64-year-old man by twice knocking on the door of his home in Greenway, Wingerworth.
The victim saw them on security cameras and did not open the door but added that “these people make you afraid to be in your own property.”
The third incident, a burglary, happened on May 3 at the home of a 75-year-old man in Eskdale Road, Hillsborough.
Miss Joyce said the men told him they were police officers and accused the householder of paying a gardener with a counterfeit note.
The victim told them he had £1,400 in his bedroom and handed it over.
And the fourth incident, an attempted burglary, saw Carty and his gang target a 61-year-old victim with health issues in Daresbury Road, Heeley, on May 5.
Carty and his group told the householder they were detectives investigating tax evasion.
Miss Joyce said: “He showed them a bank statement that informed them he had £100,000 in his account.
“He later told police that while they were at the house he was having heart palpitations as he was so worried about what was happening.”
Carty, aged 24, of Trewint Street, Earlsfield, London, was snared when the police arrived at one of his victim’s homes and found him parked in a Range Rover nearby.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud, two counts of burglary and two of attempted burglary.
Kerrie-Ann Rowan, representing Carty, said her client was from a travelling family and had a two-year-old daughter.
She said he got involved in cocaine and things went “downhill.”:
She added: “These offences have knocked everything off track.”
The court was told how none of the other gang members have been caught.