A MAN who targeted a vulnerable pensioner and attempted to steal cash from him has been jailed.
John Payne, of Maitland Park Villas in north west London, was apprehended by concerned neighbours after he attempted to scam an elderly man living in Kingsbury, north London.
A group, including Payne, targeted the 89-year-old, who lived alone, in June 2020.
They began by bombarding him with fraudulent calls, claiming to be the police, telling him he was in possession of counterfeit money.
The caller asked the man to empty the contents of his safe into a plastic bag outside his address so that an undercover officer would come and collect it.
However, a carer for the victim became aware of the calls and alerted neighbours.
They arranged with the victim to leave out a bag filled with tea-towels and lay in wait for the conman to arrive.
On June 21, 2020, Payne arrived at the house, completely unaware he had been set up.
A group of neighbours apprehended him and called police who arrived and arrested him.
A complex investigation was then undertaken to identify others who worked with Payne to target the vulnerable man.
However, while two other men were arrested they were subsequently released with no further action.
The 48-year-old was later charged with conspiracy to steal and found guilty following a trial at Isleworth Crown Court.
He was jailed for three years following a hearing at the same court on July 13.
During the hearing the actions of the victim’s neighbours were highly commended by the judge, who ordered the court issue a reward for their actions.
Speaking after the sentencing, the Metropolitan Police’s Detective Constable Sonia Darrington, who led the investigation, said: “John Payne thought nothing of swindling a vulnerable, elderly man and trying to steal his life savings.
“The action taken by concerned neighbours in this case has been truly inspirational.
“They have rallied around a vulnerable member of their community and put themselves in harm’s way to protect someone who could not protect himself.
“Together they apprehended Payne and prevented any money from being stolen.”
She added: “They have also supported the police investigation and provided a voice to the victim through court proceedings.
“The Judge commended their actions and so do I. It feels only right that they have received recognition for intervening and stopping a serious offence from occurring.”