A CALLOUS doorstep conman, who carried out a string of thefts from the homes of pensioners is today behind bars.
Stuart Taylor, of Amble Avenue, South Shields, conned his way into his victims’ houses by using fake ‘sob stories’ and then taking money from their purses and wallets.
On one occasion, the 42-year-old stole £400 from a man in his 80s.
Others, who were all in their 80s and 90s and from South Shields, lost smaller, but still significant, amounts, Newcastle Crown Court heard this week.
The daughter of one of his victims today branded Taylor as “scum” and said police should throw away the key to his cell.
Taylor was jailed for six years when he admitted a series of thefts, burglaries and attempted burglaries.
Lillian Allon, 84, from Hobart Avenue, Brockley Whins, South Shields, was targeted in February, when Taylor knocked on her door and pleaded with her to use her phone to get help for his grandmother, who he claimed had taken ill.
Once inside, he took her purse, which had £97 inside, a bank card and her bus pass.
Her daughter, Wendy, who went to the same school as Taylor, thinks his punishment should have been more severe.
She said: “A neighbour saw him coming out of my mam’s house – she knew exactly who he was, because he grew up around here.
“When I got to my mam’s, the neighbour told me to have a look and see if anything was taken, because she knew he was a criminal.
“I had no idea. I’ve not seen him for years, but he was friends with my brother Mark when they were younger.
“I don’t think he knew whose house it was, but I don’t think it would have mattered to him.
“He’s scum – how can anyone prey on vulnerable old people?
“Six years seems like a long time in prison, but they should have chopped his hands off for doing it, and thrown away the key to his cell.
“He’s nothing more than an animal.”
The 46-year-old is worried her mum will never recover from the ordeal.
She added: “Mam’s not been able to sleep or eat since it happened. She’s still scared. When it happened, she was upset because she thought it was her fault.
“He pretended to use the phone when he was inside. It was a thought-out plan.
“Hopefully, she’ll start to feel better now.
“She said to me that she hopes she’ll be able to have a good night’s sleep at last.” Taylor also admitted stealing cigarettes from the Spar store in Marsden Road, South Shields, last September.
He had been due to be tried on a further burglary charge, but that case was dropped.