A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a man jailed in his absence after a jury found him guilty of four incidents, three in Broadstairs including a burglary where he dressed as a police officer to fool his victim.
John O’ Brien, 38, of Briar Road, Stockton on Tees, Cleveland, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison on Friday (October 26) at Canterbury Crown Court but did not turn up for the hearing.
He had previously pleaded not guilty to two counts of burglary and two counts of attempted burglary. He was sentenced in his absence.
The court heard how at around 12pm on 23 November 2017 O’Brien had knocked on the door of an elderly man in Broadstairs Road, Broadstairs, claiming to be a Met Police officer. He asked the man if he had been investing in the area.
The man challenged O’Brien, asking him to show identification. O’Brien said he would return with paperwork and then left.
On the same day at around 12.30pm two men went to the home of a woman in her 80s in Carlton Avenue, Broadstairs, where they took cash after asking to see the woman’s jewellery to ensure it was safe.
Later on the same day two men tried to get into a house in Northdown Hill, Broadstairs. They persistently knocked at the house before the door was opened by the victim. They claimed to be police officers.
They said there were drugs inside the house and that they needed to talk to the woman’s partner. They showed the woman identification however the woman believed this to be fake. She shut the door and called police on 101 and during this time the men left.
At around 2.20pm two men claiming to be police officers entered a house in Broadland Drive, Chatham, where they tricked a man out of cash by claiming they needed the money from him. They also threatened the man with arrest if he did not hand over the money.
Following the incidents being reported to Kent Police O’Brien was seen in Canterbury at around 4pm on the same day along with Paul Ellis, 44, of Well Lane, Canterbury. Both men were later charged with the offences.
Ellis was jailed for three years and six months in September after pleading guilty to one count of attempted burglary and two counts of burglary.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Daniel Bister said: “Both men specifically targeted vulnerable victims by pretending to be police officers in order to try and trick their way into the homes of the victims which is despicable.
“Police officers will never contact any member of the public requesting money and I would encourage anyone approached by people claiming to be police officers that if they are not sure on the validity of the caller that they close the door and call 101. A genuine police officer will be happy to wait.”