Two burglars have been caught out – after police in Yorkshire linked them to a series of burglaries through DNA found on their flat caps
Shane Richards, 30 and Carl Riddiough, 30, were caught by eagle-eyed witnesses who spotted them in their flat caps after a police appeal.
The thieves targeted elderly people in a series of distraction burglaries, which involved telling the vulnerable victim that they had kicked a football into their garden.
One of the men would then help look for the imaginary football while the other raided the houses of the victim for valuable property between August 1 and August 3 2016.
The suspects were said to be wearing flat caps, and a vigilant witness spotted two men in caps behaving suspiciously in a vehicle.
The vehicle was later located by North Yorkshire Police, and investigators were able to link the DNA of two men to two flat caps found inside.
Glass experts also analysed the caps, and found samples of glass from one of the burglary scenes in both of them.
Mobile phone data and fingerprints also provided evidence for the case.
At York Crown Court on Wednesday July 4, Richards, from Doncaster, North Yorks., pleaded guilty to five distraction burglaries.
He was jailed for four-and-a-half-years.
Riddiough, also from Doncaster, pleaded guilty to the burglary and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
DC Sam Harding, of the Op Gauntlet Multi-Agency Safeguarding Team, said: “This was a complex investigation in which each agency played a key role. Richards’ and Riddiough’s offending left their victims extremely distressed, and it is right that they are both now behind bars.
“Burglars often target the most vulnerable people in our communities, tricking or breaking their way into homes and stealing sentimental or valuable property. These awful crimes can have a huge impact on the victims and their families.
“Residents can, however, be reassured that a number of agencies are working together to tackle this type of crime in North Yorkshire, and bring offenders to justice. We also want to encourage people – particularly if they are elderly or vulnerable – to be vigilant against this type of crime. Do not let anyone into your home if you are not certain who they are. If you’re not sure, don’t open the door.
“Anyone who thinks they might have been a victim of distraction burglary, or who has strangers at their door acting suspiciously, should report it to the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”