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27th Jun, 2022

Solihull distraction burglar who enslaved vulnerable assistant and preyed on elderly is jailed

Editorial Correspondent 20th Jul, 2020 Updated: 20th Jul, 2020

A SOLIHULL man who used a vulnerable teenager to help commit his crimes has been jailed after admitting 11 distraction burglaries.

Cornelius Connors was jailed in 2018 for a burglary in Ragley Road, Sheldon after police appealed to the public for help in identifying him. Within a matter of days, he was arrested, charged and jailed for 20 months.

While he was on remand, detectives investigating the burglary later linked him to a string of other offences across the West Midlands, West Mercia and Nottinghamshire – all using a similar method of entry.

Connors used a 17-year-old boy, whom a judge described as ‘vulnerable’ and used as ‘his slave’ in the commission of these offences to help him gain access into his elderly victims’ homes.

On most occasions he claimed to be from the ‘water board’ and once inside would turn on the taps or ask to ‘check the meter’ while he ran upstairs and raided bedrooms. He also claimed to be from the council, or an electrical or gas engineer.

During the burglaries, between January and March 2018, the 49-year-old stole thousands of pounds in cash from his victims, as well as sentimental items and jewellery.

CCTV captured his movements, and at one property HD cameras installed inside the house recorded the incident.

The callous thief attempted to cover his tracks by stealing the equipment, but officers were one step ahead and were able to download and secure the footage from a central database. Phone evidence also placed him at each property.

Connors, of Old Damson Lane Solihull, pleaded guilty to 11 offences and at Birmingham Crown Court  on Friday (July 17) and was sentenced to eight years for each offence, to run at the same time.

His 17-year old accomplice was previously charged with the same offences, but has since been acquitted after evidence unravelled that Connors was exploiting him. He is now being treated as a victim.

Detective Sergeant Craig Tennant from force CID said: “These are horrific crimes against the elderly and vulnerable. To force his way into these people’s homes and ransack their property is a total invasion of their life and this was understandably a traumatic time for them.

“I hope they can all find comfort knowing that Connors now faces time behind bars.”

Being a victim of a burglary can be very distressing, even if nothing is stolen, the thought of a stranger being in your home can feel like a violation of your privacy and security.

Victim Support can offer advice and support for victims. It can be contacted on 0808 1689 111.

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