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Reformed burglar issues stark warning to elderly and vulnerable people in Norwich this winter

PUBLISHED: 06:57 20 December 2011

Caller at door (Picture posed by models)

Caller at door (Picture posed by models)

A reformed burglar who was convicted for a string of offences in Norwich is urging elderly and vulnerable people to keep themselves safe this winter - by keeping would be criminals out.

The warning has been issued by a reformed burglar who has recently been released from prison where he was serving a three-year term after being convicted for a string of distraction burglaries in Norfolk – including Norwich, Costessey, Hellesdon, Wymondham and Attleborough – and Suffolk.

Alfie, not his real name, is in his 50s and is currently on licence. He said elderly people had to be vigilant.

He said: “They have to be aware of the simple thing of checking identification at the door and verifying, by phone, their identification.

“If it’s a legitimate caller they won’t mind you checking – if they’re not they will probably leave.

“Elderly people must be vigilant all the time. They are sitting ducks for people like me.”

The stark warning has been issued by Alfie who is trying to make amends after turning to crime.

He said he took “the easy way out” and went down the wrong path when times got tough.

He was being investigated by detectives at Norfolk Constabulary’s successful Operation Radar Team when he was arrested in July 2010 following reports of a distraction burglary at a property in Dereham belonging to a 78-year-old woman.

When interviewed, Alfie – who was on bail in connection with offences in Essex – not only admitted the offence, but went on to admit a string of offences in Norfolk and Suffolk between June and July 2010.

Alfie, who was sentenced in August last year in relation to all the offences, said he targeted vulnerable women living a lone existence, whom he described as “easy prey”.

He said he now regrets his criminal past – and the impact 
it has not only had on his 
life, but his victims and 
their families too. He said: “I might be able to forget over time, but some of the victims may not.

“What I did was abhorrent, it really was. It’s disgusting – you’re on par with scum.”

Alfie is now working to promote crime prevention alongside Norfolk Constabulary’s successful Operation Radar initiative which has helped cut distraction burglaries in the county by 50pc last year. He said the Dereham-based initiative was even respected by prisoners, who said there was no point targeting Norfolk because of the work of Radar.

Det Sgt Pete Jessop, pictured, said: “Alfie agreeing to speak to us is invaluable, as a team and a police force, to learn from the offender’s viewpoint as to 
how these offences are committed.

“And it’s valuable to the victims who can actually see what to look out for.

“But it doesn’t take away how serious these offences are, and people have to take precautions.”

To report a burglary or for crime prevention advice, call Norfolk police on 101 or log on to www.norfolk.police.uk

Have you got a crime story for the Evening News? Call Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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