A MAN who carried out a series of “despicable” distraction burglaries has been jailed for five years.

Manny Barney stole from elderly people in Verwood, Christchurch and Hampshire in the spring of last year on three separate occasions.

In the first incident, which took place in Footners Lane, Christchurch on May 31 2013, Barney asked a woman in her nineties if he could see her garden.

During the incident, the 30-year-old, who is from Alderholt, was able to take her wallet and purse, which contained money and cards.

Just weeks later, on June 25 in the Edmondsham Road area, Verwood, the defendant managed to gain entry to a property by asking the victim, a man in his eighties, to see an item which may be for sale. He was then able to distract the victim and steal money.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Powley, pictured, of Dorset CID, said: “These were despicable offences whereby Barney targeted some of our most vulnerable members of our community.

Dorset Police takes offences like these very seriously. Anyone convicted of preying on the elderly in this way will be dealt with robustly by the courts.

“Victims of distraction burglaries or bogus callers are often elderly and live by themselves. I would like to remind residents to stay vigilant and urge people to make sure that their elderly relatives or neighbours are aware of this type of crime.”

Barney was convicted and sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court.