Houghton Regis burglar conned 4 elderly residents while posing as police officer and tradesman

A distraction burglar has been jailed for four years after targeting elderly residents in Houghton Regis while posing as a police officer and a tradesman.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 5:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 5:22 pm

Martin Wickens, 28, formerly of Shelduck Field, pleaded guilty to four burglaries at Luton Crown Court on Thursday, April 22.

A further six offences were also taken into consideration prior to him being sentenced.

At around 7.30pm on November 11 last year, Wickens targeted the home of a woman in her 80s and told her he was an officer investigating suspicious circumstances in local back gardens.

Martin Wickens

The victim allowed him into her home where he stole three purses, £90 in cash and her door keys before leaving the property.

Three days later, at around 7pm, he employed the same tactic to target a man in his 80s and stole the victim’s bank card, which was then used to purchase cigarettes at a local store.

In another incident on November 13, Wickens knocked on the door of a woman in her 90s - this time claiming to be looking for a lost ball from a garden backing onto her home. Once inside the home, he stole the victim's handbag.

Finally, on the morning of November 15, Wicken called at the home of a woman in her 70s, and told her that he was a plumber and needed access to her sink and water supply, due to flooding in nearby properties.

He pushed his way into the house uninvited and opened the cupboard under the sink, telling the victim to remove the contents so he could get better access to the plumbing. While she did so, he looked around her home for items to steal.

Wickens was captured following extensive work from officers, including several pieces of CCTV footage near to the scenes, and was identified by a debit card in his possession, stolen from the burglary on November 14.

Detective Constable Jason Wheeler, who led the investigation, said: “Wickens targeted vulnerable trusting victims, and gained access to their homes under false pretences.

“He tricked his way in and stole items using ruses to execute pre-planned the offences and I am glad that we were able to identify him, obtain the evidence and place him before the courts.

“I hope that this sentence will give him time to reflect on his actions and get the support needed to help him turn his life around.

“We continue to crack down on this despicable type of crime in our county, and we will do all we can to bring offenders to justice.”

To report a burglary, please call 101. If a crime is in progress, or you are in immediate danger, always call 999.