A HABITUAL thief who targeted the elderly and vulnerable in Stalybridge before stealing their money has been jailed.
Bridget McCann, 43, of no fixed address, was sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court to four years and two months in prison after pleading guilty to burglary, theft from person and handling stolen goods.
The court heard McCann had a long history of singling out elderly people – often in their 80s and 90s – before distracting them and stealing their property, usually handbags, wallets and purses.
She then used stolen cash or debit cards to buy tobacco and scratch cards at convenience stores and supermarkets.
In May 2019, McCann stole the bank card of a woman in her 90s whom she’d been helping to cross the road.
The card was used ten times at supermarkets and stores throughout Stalybridge.
Police were able to identify McCann from CCTV in one of the stores when one of the fraudulent transactions was made.
She was seen to use the card to buy tobacco. Once the payment has been successful she then made further purchases of scratch cards and other tobacco products.
The court heard McCann had a long history of distraction thefts and burglary offences targeting elderly people.
On Sunday, May 12, 2019 McCann barged her way into the home of a man in his 80s. She demanded a cigarette before the man was able to escort her back out of his property.
He then noticed that his wallet and £160 was missing.
Detective Constable Suzy Holt of the Tameside Division said: “McCann is a selfish and habitual thief who preys upon the elderly.
“She has shown little remorse for her actions – the latest offences in a long criminal record that represents a callous and cowardly individual.
“She invariably targets people whom she believes to be vulnerable, before stealing their cash and spending it on frivolous items.
“The psychological effect of crimes like this should not be underestimated.
“Hopefully her time in prison with give her a chance to reflect on the upset she had caused and allow her time to rectify her behaviour for the future.”