Con man jailed for stealing from five pensioners

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Currie pretended he needed to phone a hospital. Picture: Greg Macvean
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Currie pretended he needed to phone a hospital. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A CONMAN who stole valuables from five pensioners has been jailed for 30 months.

Lee Currie, 36, tricked the elderly people into letting them into their homes.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Currie pretended to one of his victims that he needed to phone a hospital because his girlfriend was seriously ill with a punctured lung.

Mr Currie – who was released from another prison sentence earlier this year – also persuaded 93-year-old George Hacklands to let him into his house by saying his car had broken down.

He asked Mr Hacklands for a glass of water before stealing a wallet and £80 of cash when the pensioner was distracted.

However, Currie’s crime spree came to an end shortly after the June 2013 incident when police arrested him.

The story emerged on Tuesday after Currie, a prisoner of HMP Saughton, pleaded guilty to the theft and fraud charges at various addresses in the Edinburgh area before Sheriff Nigel Ross.

And it emerged crack addict Currie committed the offence whilst on licence, after he was jailed last June for 22 months after conning his way into the homes of numerous vulnerable people, including the elderly and disabled, by telling them he needed to ring 999 for his pregnant wife because she had gone into labour.

His latest conviction comes just 24 hours after top Crown Office lawyer, Solicitor General Lesley Thomson, announced that Scottish prosecutors are adopting a zero tolerance attitude towards criminals who target pensioners.

She said: “No-one should live in fear of crime. Criminals profiting from others are particularly detestable when they prey on the more vulnerable in our society.”

The court heard that Currie’s first offence took place at 81-year-old Marion Owen’s home in Gardner’s Crescent, Edinburgh, on April 27 this year. He stole a mobile phone and £320 cash.

Currie next picked on Mr Hastie at his home in Dalmeny Street, Edinburgh, on June 1 this year. Mr Hastie had posted a note around the area where he stayed saying that he had found a set of keys. Currie pretended that he was the man who had lost the keys, before telling Mr Hastie an “outrageous sob story” about his girlfriend being in hospital with a punctured lung.

He then took advantage of the pensioner and stole £50.

On June 18, 2013, he stole a mobile phone and a bottle of perfume from the home of 78-year-old Margaret Stainsby at Muirhouse Grove in Edinburgh. The following day he fooled Frances Strachan, 88, into letting him into her house at East Claremont Street, Edinburgh. He managed to steal £35 from her.

The court also heard that Currie had a drugs problem and was out on licence at the time of the offence.

Sentencing Currie, Sheriff Ross said: “These are offences which have been committed against the elderly. This section of society are vulnerable and deserve the protection of the court. It must be custody.”