Two people have been jailed after a burgling spree across Buxton, in which they targeted the homes of elderly and vulnerable people.
Heather Keeling, 21, and Jamie Browne, 33, pinpointed several addresses with key safes so that they could enter properties without the occupants’ knowledge.
Keeling also repeatedly posed as a carer to gain access to the homes of her elderly victims before stealing large sums of cash, jewellery, bank cards and medicine.
Stolen bank cards were also used by the pair to make fraudulent transactions at retailers.
The burglaries took place between February and March this year and were often only discovered later when items were noticed to be missing.
Keeling, of Harris Road, Harpur Hill and Browne, of Dale Road, Buxton, were arrested on suspicion of burglary on 21 March and 29 March respectively. They were charged with six counts of burglary and one of fraud.
The pair admitted the burglaries, with Keeling later confessing to two further burglaries in the area.
They appeared at Derby Crown Court on 27 October and Keeling was handed a 40-month jail term whilst Browne was sentenced to serve 59 months.
Detective Constable Robin Mills, officer in the case said:
“Browne and Keeling were calculated and cunning in their efforts to deceive and steal from their elderly and vulnerable victims.
“They repeatedly exploited their victims’ vulnerabilities for their own gain and invaded the very place where we should all feel safe: our home.
“Burglary is an extremely distressing crime which leaves people feeling frightened and violated, and we welcome this sentence which will hopefully bring some peace of mind to those targeted by Keeling and Browne.”
We understand that key safes are used by many to allow access to their properties for a variety of reasons and would like to reiterate the following advice, to help homeowners and family members keep their homes as secure as possible.
Consider relocating key safes to somewhere away from the front entrance of a property, to avoid them being spotted by opportunist burglars
Change the combination code for a key safe regularly and each time a person no longer requires access
Avoid using easily memorable or guessable combinations such as birth dates or years
Review, and keep to a minimum, the number of people who have access to the key safe code
Consider taking the key out of the safe when you know it will not be needed for access
Install security lights, alarms and CCTV to further protect your home against burglary.