A burglar from St Leonards who targeted a frail and vulnerable pensioner with health problems has been jailed for more than three years.
Graham Brook sneaked into his 89-year-old victim’s home, near Church Road in Bexhill, while she was there on September 8 and searched her property.
She heard noises from someone moving around upstairs but was unable to confront him because of her medical conditions so telephoned 999 for police.
Brook had made an untidy search of drawers at her house but there was nothing apparently stolen.
The 43-year-old, of Arbourvale, St Leonards, escaped but was tracked down by police thanks to witnesses who saw him behaving suspiciously.
Their description was recognised by police officers who had seen him in Bexhill earlier in the day and he was arrested the next morning at his home address.
When he appeared at Lewes Crown Court, Brook pleaded guilty to burglary with intent and was jailed for 38 months.
The court hearing heard that Brook had already served four previous jail sentences for burglary in the last 10 years before his latest offence.
He was sentenced on November 21.
Following Brook’s conviction and sentence, Detective Sergeant Jason Tuck said: “Brook has a history of committing burglaries so officers across East Sussex are aware of what he looks like and what kinds of crime he commits.
“When we were given the description of the suspect from people in the area, we were quickly able to link the burglary to Brook and went and arrested him, where we also found the clothes he had been wearing during the crime.
“It shows how quickly we can catch and arrest criminals with the help of the public and I would urge anyone who sees anyone acting suspiciously in their community to contact us.
“It could be nothing or it could be someone like Brook looking for his next victim.”
Acting Detective Sergeant Alex Campbell, who investigated the case, said: “We hope that this sentence - three years and two months - will act as a deterrent to criminals who think it is acceptable to target vulnerable people in this way. It is not and will not be tolerated.
“It appears that Brook got into the victim’s home through an unlocked door, and it is perhaps a timely reminder to householders to always secure doors and windows even when they are at home, either indoors or in the garden.”
Earlier this year Sussex Police launched Operation Magpie with the aim of tackling burglary across the county.
Anyone with information about burglaries should call 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.