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Burglar jailed after trying to pose as his elderly victim – North Devon Gazette

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Simeon Chami stole the wallet during a two-minute raid on a flat in Bideford and had already used it to steal more than £1,000 before he went to the TSB bank the next day pretending to be the cardholder.

Chami was aged 40 at the time and a drug user.

The bank clerk became suspicious and asked a series of security questions, all of which Chami was unable to answer, and the police were called.

The manager of the branch, who knew the victim, then phoned him to tell him what had happened. It was the first he knew about his wallet being stolen from a drawer in his hallway.

Chami, now aged 41, of The Maples, Barnstaple, admitted burglary and was jailed for two years and five months by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: “There was a degree of pre-meditation and deliberate planning and it is quite clear the occupier must have been at home at the time.

“Following the burglary, you did everything in your power to obtain as much money as possible without any regard for his personal circumstances and financial vulnerability.”

Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said within 35 minutes of the theft Chami started using the stolen card to make £229 worth of contactless payments at a Coop shop and the Pilton garage in Barnstaple.

He went on to withdraw £1,000 from cash machines in Barnstaple and Bideford.

He went to the Bideford branch the day after the burglary and tried to withdraw £3,000 from the counter using the card.

Mr Wraith said: “The bank employee was astute enough to realise Chami did not fit the profile of the account holder, who is 70.

“He was asked a series of security questions, which he was unable to answer and also unable to produce any identification.”

Chami has convictions for 42 offences and was liable to a minimum term of three years, less a reduction for a guilty plea, under the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule because this is his third domestic burglary.

Martin Pearce, defending, said Chami had a £40 a day heroin and crack cocaine habit at the time and had been given instructions on how to carry out the raid and where to find the wallet.

He is very sorry for what he has done and wants to apologise to the victim. He has been assessed as suitable for a drug rehabilitation course and is addressing his addiction while in custody.

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