A GILLINGHAM man has been jailed after he was caught on camera stealing money from a deaf, elderly woman.

Samuel Cooper, aged 35, of Lodbourne Green, was sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court to three and a half years in prison after admitting three offences of burglary, as well as fraud by false representation.

The installation of a camera in the victim's bedroom followed concerns that money had gone missing from her Gillingham home over several weeks.

A neighbour completed the set up, and on May 14 a man was seen entering the bedroom, going through the victim’s drawers and taking £20.

The man was subsequently identified by neighbourhood officers from the camera images as Cooper.

The victim was also informed by her bank that her card had been cancelled, as someone had tried to use it three times with the incorrect PIN on May 1.

Between May 1 and 14, £35 in cash was taken from the victim’s bedroom. Over a two-month period the victim estimated that between £200 and £300 had been stolen from her, as well as jewellery.

Detectives and neighbourhood officers worked together to obtain banking information, which led to a trawl of CCTV starting from where Cooper attempted the transactions using the card and concluding with the defendant returning to the area where he lived.

Describing his actions as "despicable", Detective Constable Kate Rhodes of Western CID said: “Samuel Cooper preyed on his vulnerable victim as he thought she would be an easy target and he entered her house without her knowledge and took money on several occasions.

“My particular thanks goes out to the neighbour who installed the camera and to local officers, particularly Police Constable Rob Hammond from the local neighbourhood policing team who was able to recognise Cooper from the CCTV footage and was instrumental in gathering further evidence."