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21 February 2012, 13:29 | Updated: 21 February 2012, 13:51
A man was sentenced to four and a half years in prison last week following a distraction burglary in Bricket Wood last year.
Christopher Wickens, aged 32 and of no fixed abode, was joined by two accomplices on June 30, 2011. They conned the victim by telling them that he needed to borrow a piece of paper to write a note. Whilst the victim was distracted Wickens and an accomplice removed various items of cash and the three made off in the victim’s car.
He was sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment at Luton Crown Court.
Detective Constable Jill Green from Operation Manhunt said: “Although Christopher Wickens is of no fixed abode, he has strong links to St Albans and Hemel Hempstead so knew the area in which he was committing crime.
“I’d like to thank members of public in the area who were vigilant and vital in securing this conviction, particularly a local postman and a neighbour of the victim both of whom were able to give information to the police which greatly assisted in the investigation and conviction. This just highlights the importance of people looking out for their neighbours and making note of people acting suspiciously around the houses of the older people in the community.
“The judge clearly saw the seriousness of this incident and gave Wickens a long sentence for the crime. I would urge anyone faced with a caller at their door who they don’t recognise and aren’t expecting not to open the door.”
Hertfordshire Constabulary gives the following advice to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of distraction burglary:
Not sure? Don’t open the door! - If you are not expecting anyone and you don’t recognise them, don’t let them into your home. Try to communicate with the caller without opening the door and ask them to return at a time when you have someone you trust with you.
If you are expecting a caller - If a person you are expecting comes at the time you have arranged, ask to see their identification before you let them in.
Never keep large amounts of cash at home. Put your money in an account where it is safe.
Call 999 if you suspect a crime is in progress or you believe someone is acting suspiciously around your neighbour’s property.