A gang of thieves eavesdropped on a 76-year-old man in a Northamptonshire bank before stealing £1,000 from him in the street.
Parashkeva Ilieva, Gergina Yankova and Nikolay Stanev were all jailed at Northampton Crown Court yesterday for a theft carried out in Corby on March 22.
The court heard that Ilieva, a 25-year-old mother of two, was in the queue at Lloyds bank in Elizabeth Street in front of the 76-year-old victim when she offered to let him in front of her.
He then withdrew the £1,000 - which he intended to use to pay his council tax and settle a bill for a new window at his home - and left, noticing that Ilieva was no longer in the queue.
When the victim got to his car, he was then approached by Ilieva, who was this time carrying an A3 map book.
She began to ask for directions and the victim was trying to help when Yankova, aged 50, approached.
The two women began talking in Bulgarian then suddenly closed the map and walked off.
The victim was sat in his car when he was then approached by a man who said he believed the pensioner had just been the victim of a distraction theft. The pensioner then reached into his pocket and found the envelope was missing.
After reporting the crime the women - along with Stanev - were tracked by police to Kettering and arrested near the town’s police station.
Although Stanev was found to have £700 of the cash in his jacket - all in £20 notes - none of the gang, who all live in Sheffield, gave any comment in interview.
However, after being charged with theft, they entered guilty pleas at subsequent court hearings.
Dominic Woolard, prosecuting, said: “This man was elderly and frail. He had no savings other than that put aside for funeral costs.
“His victim impact statement says, ‘Apart from being £1,000 down, I’m upset and disappointed with myself for allowing myself to be the victim of this crime without knowing what was happening.’”
Sentencing, Judge Timothy Smith said: “He was vulnerable and you preyed on that vulnerability.”
Yankova was jailed for 12 months and Ilieva and Stanev were handed sentences of seven months each.
A proceeds of crime order was also made for the return of the pensioner’s money.