Romford pensioner and another jailed for conning the elderly

TWO aged conmen were jailed for three years and nine months each for tricking even older people out of cash and jewellery.

William Chalmers, 68, of Bell Avenue, Romford, and Michael Ramm, 65, of Henniker Gate, Chelmsford, got into pensioners’ homes in Hertford, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, Waltham Cross and Ipswich by posing as utility workers.

Chalmers, on his own, tricked a victim in Colchester.

While one kept the victims occupied in a room, the other rifled the rest of their homes and stole their belongings.

In some cases sentimental items, including a widow’s wedding ring, were taken as well as cash, St Albans Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Alan Landsbury said the men operated between March last year and June this year. He said: “The victims were aged between 73 and 96. One of the defendants would enter the elderly person’s house using a ploy ranging from working for the gas board, electricity board and local council.

“Once inside they got the elderly person into a room and would often place a ladder against the door to prevent them leaving while carrying out a bogus inspection.

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“The resident was encouraged to stay with that person while the rest of the property was free for the second person to come on the scene and steal money and other goods.”

Both men were caught with red laser lights that they shone at ceilings to make it appear as they were looking for leaks or hot spots.

Chalmers pleaded guilty to two burglaries and asked for seven to be taken into consideration. He had last been in court for a dishonesty offence in March 1973.

Ramm pleaded guilty to eight burglaries. He had one previous conviction from 1999 for going equipped to cheat.

For Ramm, Leon Kazakos, said in 2009 he had been employed at a warehouse where there had been a downturn in work. “He had been concerned for his fiscal well-being, but now accepts he damaged the fiscal well-being of others,” he said.

He added that the father-of-four felt remorse for his actions, saying “Those who know him have struggled to reconcile the offence with the man they know.”

Jemma Levinson, for Chalmers, said the father of three, who had been working as a carpet fitter, wanted to apologise to his victims.

“He recognises that he made their lives a misery.

“He has let his wife and family down and set a bad example to his children, “ she said.

Judge Martin Griffiths told them: “You targeted vulnerable victims. Despite your age they were older than you.”

The judge said distraction burglaries undermine victims’ confidence and security.