A DISTRACTION burglar who stole coins and silver worth £40,000 from a home in West Moors has been jailed.

Clifford James Dean Whittaker, aged 36 and of Abbey Road in London, appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday (June 22) and was sentenced to 40 months in prison after admitting the offence.

At about 1pm on February 5, the victim, a man aged in his 60s, was at his home in Pinehurst Road with his wife when a group of three or four men attended the address claiming to be from a company called Kennedy Water.

They said there had been issues with the water supply and they needed to carry out some checks.

The men proceeded to tamper with the taps in the property before saying they would have to shut off the supply.

The victim started filling a large container with water in preparation and realised the men had left the kitchen.

He went to the window and saw the men walking away from the property carrying a white carrier bag. Inside appeared to be coin trays that had been taken from safes in the bedroom.

The victim found that 98 sovereign coins and 6kg of silver, as well as various other coins had been taken from the safes. The total value of the items stolen was around £40,000.

CCTV enquiries identified the vehicle the men had got into after the burglary, which was linked to other offences outside of Dorset. Whittaker was later arrested in the Thames Valley area on March 26.

Detective Constable Ben Swain said: “This burglary must have been deeply upsetting for the victim and his wife as they were targeted in their own home while they were inside the property. I am pleased we have been able to bring one of the offenders to justice and we are urging residents to take steps to help prevent themselves from becoming victims of offenders such as Whittaker.”