A “DISGRACEFUL” criminal with a history of targeting elderly and vulnerable victims in distraction burglaries stole an 83-year-old woman’s savings.

Thomas Sykes was blasted by a judge who jailed him for five years after he preyed on her and barged his way into her Caerphilly home.

The notorious defendant has made national headlines in the past following a series of vile offences against senior citizens across the country.

Abigail Jackson, prosecuting, told how Sykes, from Wiltshire, has previously conned his way into homes by posing as a gardener and a council worker.


A former victim who he stole cash from included a 98-year-old man.

His latest quarry was tricked when the serial thief got into her home when visiting friends in Cardiff just before Christmas and took £600.

Miss Jackson said Sykes and an unidentified man had knocked on the woman’s door at offered to do gardening work before pushing their way in.

The prosecutor read to Cardiff Crown Court a victim impact statement written by the complainant’s daughter: “My mother is in hospital recovering from a fall.

"She is scared to be alone at home now. She has lost her appetite.

“She never wanted to go to a home but she said she would feel safer in one.

“Her independence has been taken too.”

The 28-year-old drug addict, of Notton Park, Lacock, near Chippenham, pleaded guilty to committing the burglary on December 2, 2020.

The court was told Sykes has been previously jailed for similar offences at Bristol Crown Court and Derby Crown Court in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

Emma Harris, mitigating, said of the father-of-four: “His family has now disowned him and his partner of 15 years has left him.

"He accepts this was a very mean offence.

“The defendant wishes to express his remorse to the court and to the victim and her family.

“His life has been blighted by his addiction to crack cocaine. He has been addicted for his entire adult life.

“He is thoroughly ashamed of himself. He hopes to rid himself of crack cocaine.”

Judge David Wynn Morgan said the defendant’s actions had left his victim “traumatised”.

He told Sykes: “You pushed an 83-year-old woman out of the way.

"You have committed offences of this nature before.

“This was a despicable offence and you are despicable criminal.”

The defendant must also pay a £190 victim surcharge after his release from his five-year jail sentence.