A burglar who targeted elderly women including two aged over 80 and a 98-year-old has been jailed for six years after pleading guilty to three offences.

Christopher Henry, 54, from Blenheim Park Road in South Croydon, was sentenced on Friday for the string of distraction burglaries, where he would pretend to be a plumber and was even caught in the act.

Robert Costigan the Detective Constable (DC) who led the investigation said: “This was an abhorrent crime planned on three vulnerable women.

“Two of whom were simply happy to help a plumber with his work.”

His first victim was a 98-year-old woman from Purley who had been woken up in her bedroom by Mr Henry as her rummaged through her possessions.

The victim called the police and pressed her care button after being pushed by Mr Henry who fled her home with pieces from her jewellery collection.

Within a few weeks Mr Henry was caught caught in the home of an 83-year-old woman from Greenwich on August 14, 2018 but this time, he lied to his victim and convinced her that he was a plumber who was there to repair a leak in the downstairs flat.

Mr Henry suggested that the leak could be coming from the victim’s kitchen or bathroom to which the woman allowed Mr Henry to enter her home so that he could look at her kitchen sink.

He told his victim to remove all items that were under the sink and had asked the woman if he could inspect the pipes in other rooms.

He also spoke to her about decorating in a bid to distract her and after his “inspection” Mr Henry promised to return the next day to “fix the leak.”

The victim later discovered some jewellery, £50 in cash and ornaments containing her husband’s ashes had been taken.

DC Costigan continued: “He carefully planned and targeted them in their homes, a place where they should feel the most safe and secure.

“Not only have these women been made to feel fear in their home, they have lost valuable items that hold memories for each.

“One woman has even lost her husband’s ashes.

“I’m very happy with this sentence and I hope it can bring some closure to each victim.”

Mr Henry claimed to be a plumber again when he stole from his third victims’ home on November 5, 2018 however, this time Mr Henry distracted his victim – an 86-year-old woman from St Albans, as his accomplice searched her home and stole five gold rings and £20.

A police investigation was launched which found a combination of CCTV enquiries phone work and witnesses which would lead to the Mr Henry’s arrest