Burglars preyed on elderly people with dementia

Ruben Smith, Sarah Belcher and Wesley Harcourt Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Ruben Smith, Sarah Belcher and Wesley Harcourt targeted people with dementia

Three burglars who preyed on elderly people with dementia over Christmas, in some cases assaulting and threatening them with weapons, have been jailed.

The crimes took place between 23 December and 7 January in Iver, Chalfont St Peter, Slough and Windsor.

Ruben Smith and Wesley Harcourt pleaded guilty to burglary, fraud and robbery and were jailed for nine and a half years and 12 years on Monday.

Sarah Belcher was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to burglary.

Det Con Katy Lewis of Thames Valley Police said the victims were targeted because of their vulnerability.

'Repeatedly punched'

Their properties were also in remote areas of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

She said all the victims were elderly and some suffered from dementia.

"All the victims have been in their homes during the offence with some committed in the middle of the night," she said.

"Some of the victims were assaulted or threatened with weapons during the offences, with one of the victims repeatedly punched in the face."

The trio stole bank cards and tried to defraud their victims, as well as taking cash, jewellery and a vehicle during the crime spree.

They were jailed at Reading Crown Court on Monday.

Smith, 33, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary, two counts of fraud and one count of robbery, and was jailed for a nine and a half years.

Harcourt, 39, of Monksfield Way in Slough, pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, two counts of burglary and one count of fraud, and was sent to prison for 12 years.

Belcher, 40, of Brammas Close, Slough, pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and was jailed for two years.