Highbury burglars who posed as window cleaners jailed
17:13 03 July 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Two burglars who posed as window cleaners to steal tens of thousands of pounds worth of goods from homes have been jailed for a combined eight years.
Darren Spencer, 38, and Steven Ward, 36, both of Highbury, worked together and with other accomplices to trick their victims, who included an elderly stroke victim and an MP.
The elderly lady – from whom Spencer, of Aberdeen Park, stole £5,000 worth of jewellery in October last year – had another stroke just a month after the burglary and is now scared to answer her door.
Spencer, who had previously served three years in prison for burglary in 2012, asked for 10 other burglary offences to be taken into account, while Ward, of Panmure Close, committed both his burglary offences while out on licence.
Both said they stole the goods to fund drug habits.
Sentencing them at Blackfriars Crown Court on Tuesday, Judge Jane Sullivan said: “There was a great harm caused to the victims both in terms of financial and sentimental value of the items taken.
“There was also greater harm as the victims were at home, because of the significant degree of planning and due to the fact that on each occasion there was more than one of you.
“Another aggravating matter is that many of these offences were committed while you were out on bail.”
Spencer, a father of two, was sentenced to four years and eight months in jail while Ward, who has four children, was jailed for three years and four months.
Judge Sullivan said the burglary in Harberton Road, Archway, in October had been particularly hard on Spencer’s elderly victim.
She said: “That particular lady, as you know from the victim impact statements, had a stroke in January 2013.
“She suffered another one just a month after [the burglary]. She was a vulnerable old lady who is now scared to answer the door.
“As for the items that were taken, some were clearly of sentimental value.
“Some were items from parents and not insured.”
The value of items stolen in the 10 further offences Spencer confessed to was said to add up to about £14,000.
Both were present when an unnamed MP’s home in Islington was burgled in January, when Spencer made off with earrings worth £700 while Ward attempted to distract the victim by knocking on the window.