A CRUEL raider lured an 87-year-old man from his home using a fake note from the Post Office then burgled his property while he was out.
The pensioner received an official-looking document through his door on January 9 saying he must attend the post office within the next hour to sign for an urgent parcel.
Newcastle Crown Court heard during the 25 minutes it took him to get there and back, and be told there was no parcel for him to collect, his home was broken into and £12 in cash taken from his living room.
More than £200 damage was caused to windows at the back of the house in Southwick, Sunderland, where they smashed their way in.
Anthony Berry, 27, of Hylton Lane, Downhill, pleaded guilty to burglary and was yesterday jailed for 10 months.
Nobody else involved in the raid has yet been caught.
Mr Recorder Abdul Iqbal told Berry, who pleaded guilty to burglary: “The victim, elderly and vulnerable as he is, had his premises deliberately targeted by you and others.
“That follows from the sending of that fabricated document to his address and I find as a matter of fact his property was monitored by you on that morning to make sure he acted on that document.”
In a statement to police the victim said he now lives in fear that the people who targeted him will return.
Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court the elderly victim had been at home at around 11.30am when he heard something posted through his letterbox.
Mr Bunch said: “He found an envelope had been posted through, sealed with black tape.
“Inside he found a letter saying he needed to attend the local post office before 12.15pm to collect a parcel which needed signing for.”
The court heard the victim had left his home by midday and when he returned at 12.25 his home had already been raided.
Berry was arrested through a DNA match which was made to blood found on the smashed bathroom window at the house.
Lewis Kerr, defending, said Berry was under great “emotional strain” at the time.