Blyth thief who conned one victim in her 90s and snatched the bag of another woman in Bedlington jailed
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Geoffrey O’Brien, of Ford Drive, went to the Bedlington home of a woman in her 90s on May 1, 2023, claimed he had cleaned her guttering, and demanded payment.
When she left the front door to fetch him some water at his request, he entered her property and stole her purse from the table.
The victim noticed the purse was missing and her relative contacted her bank, which found her stolen card had been used to buy cigarettes nearby.
Three days later O’Brien, 29, yanked a bag from the shoulder of a woman walking alone in Bedlington, knocking her off balance.
Northumbria Police reviewed CCTV footage of both incidents and identified O’Brien as their suspect.
He was soon arrested and charged with robbery, burglary, and fraud by false representation.
O’Brien pleaded guilty to all three offences at Newcastle Crown Court on October 26, and was handed a prison sentence of three and a half years.
He has also been forced to pay compensation to his victims and been given a seven-year restraining order against them.
Detective Inspector Jude Scott, from Northumbria Police’s burglary team, said: “O’Brien is a persistent and remorseless offender who has clearly targeted vulnerable women on their own who he knew he could overpower and manipulate.
“These types of crime are invasive and extremely scary for the victims, especially as O’Brien used the good will of one of the victims to get inside her house, only to go on and steal from her.
“I would like to praise their bravery in these cases as they both immediately informed us of these crimes and provided us with a lot of valuable information.
“This is a fantastic result, and I am extremely pleased O’Brien is now rightly behind bars for his disgraceful actions.”
DI Scott encouraged the public to ensure valuables are kept out of sight and doors and windows are properly locked.
She added: “Thieves often use distraction techniques to get inside the houses of their targets, so ensure you are checking the IDs of workpeople and not leaving strangers unsupervised if they do come inside.
“Most importantly, get in touch if something does not look or feel right for your community and trust your instincts.”