A BOGUS caller who forced his way into the homes of ill or vulnerable people has been sentenced to five years and four months imprisonment.

Michael Roman, also known as Michael Lawrence or Michael Pearson, pleaded guilty to four counts of distraction burglary and criminal damage during his sentencing at Swindon Crown Court on Friday April 13.

On November 6 2017, Roman entered homes in Parklands, Malmesbury as well as Oaksey Road and Pinnocks Place in Swindon, where he targeted elderly residents and claimed he was calling on behalf of the local council or the water board and needed to check their piping.

Roman, 46, carried out another distraction burglary in The Crescent, Westbury on the following day where he ripped the internal CCTV camera from the wall.

Jailing him Judge Robert Pawson said: “You and your accomplices visited four elderly people: I have seen video footage of one of them. You reduced her to tears. She was terrified. She didn’t want to let you in. It was a concerted effort by you.

“You deliberately targeted your victims. There was a degree of planning. You were a member of a partnership. One victim had just seconds earlier opened a letter that had come through her front door saying she had terminal cancer. She had also been told she had glaucoma. She said the whole incident had affected her life.”

Local crime investigator Ashton Schorah said: “In all four incidents, elderly residents were targeted in their homes by Roman who pretended to be from the council or the water board.

"He lied to gain entry into the homes of these vulnerable people leaving them feeling upset, worried and frightened. These people should feel safe in their own homes, and Roman’s actions have taken that away. During one of the incidents, he ushered the elderly lady into her living room and only left when she became very upset.

"He can be seen on CCTV footage covering his hands when touching door handles in an attempt to prevent police from identifying him. I am satisfied with the sentence handed out today, and would encourage people to talk to their elderly relatives or vulnerable neighbours about not answering their doors to anyone who has not got official ID or who has not made an appointment to visit them. Anyone from the council or water board will be able to produce identification and would not cold call.

"I hope this case sends a clear message to those who engage in this type of criminal activity that our community tasking team will conduct a robust investigation to identify those responsible and ensure they are put before the courts.

Simon Cooper, defending, told the court that his client was full of remorse for what he had done having returned to his old ways. He said his marriage had broken down and he started to drink and take drugs as well as associating with former friends.