Man burgled home of woman after she let him in to use toilet

23 year-old Callum Brankin admitted causing careless driving at Ipswich Crown Court today

Lewis Falco was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A judge has warned the public of the dangers of letting strangers into their homes after a 20-year-old man burgled a vulnerable woman who had let him use her toilet.

Sentencing 20-year-old Lewis Falco to 28 months detention, Judge Martyn Levett said: “The message needs to go out to the public that if a stranger knocks at your door offering to do gardening work and then asks for a glass of water or to use the toilet it is overwhelmingly probable that stranger is going to burgle their house.”

Falco, formerly of Bridge End Road, Red Lodge, admitted burglary, theft and three offences of fraud by false representation last summer.

As he has been in custody for 59 weeks and will be released imminently, Judge Levett imposed a strict list of licence provisions, which he said were necessary to protect the public including a condition of residence at an Ipswich probation hostel, a curfew, reporting conditions and regular drug tests.

Judge Levett said although Falco claimed voices had told him to commit the offences professionals who’d interviewed him had not applied for him to be made the subject of a hospital order under the Mental Health Act.

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Stephen Mather, prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court, said Falco stole a purse belonging to a woman in her 70s, who was recovering from a brain injury and self-isolating alone at home in Barrow, near Bury St Edmunds, on the evening of August 19 last year.

Falco had called at the property at about 5.30pm and offered to cut the hedge.

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"She didn't want any done but he persisted, becoming agitated and jumpy,” said Mr Mather.

He said the victim felt sorry for Falco and let him inside to use the toilet and have a glass of water.

However, she later realised her purse had gone missing from the kitchen table.

Falco was subsequently identified via a fingerprint found on the glass, as well as CCTV from a local garage and convenience store where the stolen card was used on three occasions.

Oliver Haswell, for Falco, said his client had been exploited by others.

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