A father and son team who set out to con elderly people across Herts and the south of England have been jailed.
Jimmy Chuter, 26, of Montrose Avenue, Datchet and his father, 51-year-old Albert Webb of The Paddocks, Lyne Road, Surrey travelled far and wide looking for older people to target.
According to police, the callous duo stopped the victims close to their homes, claiming they had completed roofing work on their property and had returned to collect payment.
The victims, some of whom suffered from memory impairment through dementia, often gave cash from their homes or would be driven to their banks by the pair to withdraw large sums of money.
On several occasions upon entering the victims’ houses, they also committed distraction burglaries.
Herts Police’s specialist investigation team Operation Manhunt linked a series of eight incidents in the county, and then worked with other police forces to piece together a total 35 offences committed between February 2012 and February 2014 across Herts, Avon & Somerset, Hampshire, Oxford and Surrey.
The majority of victims were women aged in their 80s and 90s with oldest victim a 97-year-old man.
In total, it is believed they gained £15,000 from their crimes and officers are now starting proceedings to confiscate their criminal gains. A silver Mercedes C200 used in the pair’s cruel exploits has already been seized.
Chuter and Webb appeared at St Albans Crown Court on Friday and pleaded guilty to the offences.
The son was sentenced to four years for conspiracy to defraud while father Webb was sentenced to three and a half years for conspiracy to burgle, conspiracy to defraud and a stand-alone charge of fraud for a historic matter.
He will serve the time on top of a further three and a half year sentence he received at Worcester Crown court in December, for similar offences committed whilst on bail.
Det Insp Ben Wright who leads Operation Manhunt said: “My team of detectives left no stone unturned in the pursuit for identifying these men. I’d take this opportunity to advise those who travel to Hertfordshire to target the elderly that they will be ruthlessly pursued and the full extent of their criminality investigated.”
Det Con Kieran Doyle, from the same team, said: “This pair showed absolutely no regard for their victims, some of whom they would follow from local shopping centres. They particularly preyed on older people who may be more easily confused into believing work had been done to their property.
“Their behaviour really is the lowest of the low but through the sheer determination of the Operation Manhunt team, who are specialists in this type of criminal activity, they soon had their comeuppance. And when they faced their day in court the evidence against them was so strong them had no choice but to plead guilty, saving their victims the trauma of having to give evidence against them in court.
“I am pleased that the judge saw the seriousness of their behaviour and has handed down substantial sentences.”
A third man is wanted in connection with the series of crimes. Jessie Webb (pictured left), aged 19 and also of The Paddocks, Lyne Road, Surrey is believed to be in the areas of Surrey and London.
If anyone knows of Webb’s whereabouts or believes they have seen him, they are asked to contact Herts Police using via the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.