Conman targeted old and disabled

0
Have your say

A CON artist raided elderly and disabled people’s homes after claiming he needed to call an ambulance for his pregnant wife.

Lee Currie targeted several addresses in the Capital between September 2011 and February 2012.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told how Currie, 34, would knock on doors and tell residents his partner had gone into labour and that he needed to phone 999.

Once inside their properties, Currie, who has several convictions for dishonesty, would steal items left around the house.

He snatched handbags, wallets and mobile phones during the robberies, which were committed before he was arrested by police earlier this year.

Currie, a prisoner of HMP Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to seven charges of theft and fraud. The crack cocaine addict originally faced a total of 21 charges but the Crown agreed to drop 14.

The court heard that on each occasion, emergency services sent an ambulance to the addresses from which Currie rang.

Depute procurator fiscal Jane Hilditch told the court that Currie first targeted Joan Skinner, 64, on September 26, 2011, at her home in a sheltered housing complex in Gillespie Crescent, Bruntsfield.

The dad of two knocked on her door and said he needed to use her phone.

Ms Hilditch said: “He stated that his wife was pregnant and she had gone into labour.

“The complainer observed the accused telephoning 999. After he finished making the call, the accused told the complainer that the ambulance would phone back in five minutes.

“The accused told her that he wanted to go outside and have a cigarette. Once he left, the complainer noticed that her handbag had been taken.”

Currie then struck a number of times throughout Edinburgh. The court heard that on each occasion he would target people living in sheltered housing.

On some occasions, the targets grew suspicious and Currie left empty handed.

On January 22, 2012, Currie knocked on David Ross’s door at Lapicide Place in Leith. He once again told the 73-year-old that he needed to call for an ambulance for his pregnant wife.

Ms Hilditch told the court that once he was inside, he snatched Mr Ross’s wallet, which contained £80 in cash, and ran away, with Mr Ross unable to give chase.

She said Currie was arrested in February and originally denied having anything to do with the robberies.

The court heard that Currie was homeless and had been of no fixed abode since splitting from his partner. He had spent the time before he was arrested living with friends and family.

The court also heard that he was a former mechanic who developed a crack cocaine problem.

Sheriff Kenneth Maciver deferred sentence on Currie until next month in order for the court to obtain reports about his character.