A DRUG addict who used a sob story about being locked out of his home to con people into funding his habit has been jailed for 14 months.
Anil Kumar Sangha, 38, knocked on the doors of five elderly people in Hayes over 10 days in June, each time telling them he had lost his keys and needed money to pay for a locksmith.
Twice he succeeded, with the sympathetic homeowners handing over £23 and £35.
Police made Sangha their prime suspect and, after scrambling a helicopter on June 28 to locate him, following a report he was operating in Coronation Road, Hayes, he was picked up and arrested.
Sangha appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on June 31 on five fraud counts, and was given bail.
Within hours of leaving the court, however, he was up to his old tricks, using the same story on an unsuspecting member of the public in Cobden Close, Uxbridge, who gave him £26.
He then spotted a woman in her 70s loading shopping into the boot of her car and offered to help, before stealing her purse. He was rearrested soon after.
James O’Connell, prosecuting, told Isleworth Crown Court on Friday last week: “He explained to police that he was doing it to fund his entrenched heroin habit.
“He would take drugs first thing in the morning and have a drink, and then go out to commit these offences to pay for more.”
Sangha had been put on an Asbo at Ealing Magistrates’ Court in April, under which he was not permitted to approach anyone in the boroughs of Ealing, Hounslow, or Hammersmith and Fulham.
So he simply started running the scam again in Hillingdon.
John Kearney, defending Sangha, said: “This was an aggravated form of begging. He was playing on the charity of individuals, not breaking into homes or mugging people.
“When he is clear-headed, he is remorseful about breaking his victims’ trust, but his addiction is in control of him. The most aggravating feature is that he will not stop doing it.”
Passing sentence, Recorder Jones QC told Sangha: “You have an appalling record, and it is clear that there is a high risk that you will reoffend. This was persistent offending over several days, and some of your victims were vulnerable.”
Sangha, of no fixed address, admitted six charges of deception and one of theft before last week’s court appearance. He was sentenced to two months for each offence, to run consecutively.
Eighteen separate offences were taken into consideration.