Conman preyed on the elderly

JAILED: Afsir Khan (s)
JAILED: Afsir Khan (s)

A “DESPICABLE” drug addict and conman who has repeatedly targeted the elderly to fund his habit has been jailed for five years after an 89-year-old woman became his latest victim.

Burnley Crown Court heard how serial burglar Afsir Khan (21) entered the pensioner’s Brierfield home uninvited, demanded cash from her and then helped himself to her purse after she refused.

Khan, who was on licence from a three-and-a-half year jail term for similar offences, had earlier conned the victim out of £20 by claiming he was collecting sponsorship money. He had “assessed” her and then deliberately targeted her to get more money.

Khan was said to be nonchalant, dismissive and uncaring about what he had done and to have smirked when interviewed by the police and the probation service. The defendant, of Ormerod Road, Burnley, admitted burglary and fraud.

Miss Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said the victim suffered from chronic arthritis, struggled to walk and had various other ailments. She had been visited by the defendant earlier in May. He asked for sponsorship money and she handed over £20. He returned on May 26th, as the victim was waiting for her lunch to be delivered. He appeared in her hallway, she immediately recognised him and he told her she owed him more cash.

The victim disputed that but the defendant said he needed a drink, went into the kitchen, filled a glass with water and drank it. He then grabbed her purse from a trolley by her chair and ran from the house, taking £80 cash.

“She had the presence of mind to retain the glass for when the police arrived and fingerprints were found on it.”

The victim also picked out Khan on a video identity parade. The defendant was interviewed twice by police and denied involvement in the burglary.

The hearing was told the defendant was sent to prison in August 2010 for two burglaries and frauds, with offences to be considered. He was released on January 10th this year but had since been recalled.

Mr Mark Stuart (defending) said the offence was undoubtedly drug-related. He had started taking cannabis and then “bubble”.

“When he’s short of money for drugs, he goes round asking for sponsorship money. Because he knew he had got £20 off her before, he went back again. It was a mean offence,” he said.

Sentencing, Judge Beverly Lunt told Khan he had been released “ridiculously early” from the fairly lengthy sentence she had imposed on him. He had a substantial number of similar offences involving elderly people on his record.

“It’s quite clear to me the only way to protect the elderly from you is to make sure that you spend longer and longer periods in custody.”

Speaking after the case, PC Gavin Rose said: “To target an elderly and vulnerable lady in this way is utterly despicable. She suffers from arthritis and struggles to walk.

“He hasn’t shown any signs of remorse throughout the investigation. I hope this sentence acts as a warning to others that the police will do everything within their power to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.”