Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'Crimewave' Burglar Terrified Pensioners

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'Crimewave' Burglar Terrified Pensioners

Article excerpt

PENSIONERS living in sheltered accommodation - including a 102-year-old woman - told of their horror after being woken by a prolific burglar seeking to fuel his drug habit.

Leon Lewis, 30, has been jailed for seven years and four months after 39 properties across Oldham, Rochdale and north Manchester were broken into. Most of his terrified elderly victims lived in sheltered accommodation.

Lewis had only been out of prison for a few weeks - after being jailed for burgling an 84-year-old woman's home - when he began his 'mini-crimewave.' .

Between December last year and March, he broke into dozens of homes, prosecutor Christopher Beckwith told Manchester Crown Court.

In one case, he woke a 102-yearold woman at her home in sheltered accommodation at around 3am. She thought it was her carer, but saw Lewis rush past and grab her handbag, which contained her purse, cash and false teeth.

The woman, who lived in Moston, said the burglary, on March 16, was a 'nightmare' and that she had been left 'frightened and upset'. Days later, on March 19, Lewis struck again at sheltered accommodation in Harpurhey.

A 77-year-old woman, who had saved £700 for a holiday she believed would be her last with her sick husband, woke to find Lewis in her room holding a torch. The woman shouted at him and he left, the court heard. She later realised the £700, which was in a set of drawers, had been taken - as had her purse, which contained £50 cash and her husband's wallet, which had £10 in it.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she felt 'nervous and sick' following the raid.

"I thought we would be safe in our rooms at night," she said. "I cannot believe this has happened.

"I hope we can put this awful incident behind us and enjoy what time we have left peacefully."

Following another break-in, a 67-year-old man sleeping in sheltered accommodation in Rochdale woke to find his gold necklace had been taken from around his neck. …

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