Chesterfield distraction burglar caught on camera is jailed

CCTV footage of the distraction burglary was circulated by national media. (Source: Police).
CCTV footage of the distraction burglary was circulated by national media. (Source: Police).

A man who was caught on CCTV stealing from an elderly woman before she tried to beat him away has been jailed for four years.

Thomas Sykes, 24, of Thingley Caravan Site, Easton Lane, Chippenham was arrested after a man was caught tricking an elderly woman to let him into her home, only to be caught on her CCTV system.

Sykes has pleaded guilty to the crime at Derby Crown Court.

Sykes has pleaded guilty to the crime at Derby Crown Court.

Deryshire police released the footage, showing a man who claimed to be form the local council, enter her handbag and while she wasn't looking, snatched her handbag.

The story made national headlines as the woman, depicted in a zimmer frame, caught sight of him trying to steal the bag and tried to hit him before he fled the bungalow in Boythorpe Road, Chesterfield.

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VIDEO: Police appeal over Chesterfield burglary

He has pleaded guilty to February 15 burglary at Derby Crown Court on Friday July 8.

A spokesman for Derbyshire police said: "Sykes went into the woman’s home on the pretext of talking to her about plans for the garden and after speaking to her for about 10 minutes snatched her bag from beside her chair.

"Her purse was found at 12.30pm, the same day, at the roadside on West Street near the junction with Foljambe Road.

"As a direct result of the nationwide publicity, police officers arrested and charged Sykes’ twin brother, of Calne in Wiltshire. Charges against him were discontinued after Thomas was arrested and charged with the offence, which he later admitted at court.

DC Damian Lowe said: “Thomas Sykes was arrested on May 6 and appeared before magistrates the next day. The CCTV images proved invaluable in providing overwhelming evidence against Sykes.

“The response we had from the public was phenomenal and I’d like to thank everyone who contacted us with information.”

The four year sentence was imposed because this was Sykes’ third similar conviction.