A FRAUDSTER who teamed up with his brother to cheat a vulnerable old woman ended up burgling the home of a confused 93-year-old man while on bail for the first offence.

Heroin addict Anthony Smith is now starting a four-year prison sentence after Judge Sara Dodd branded his crimes ‘despicable’.

Burnley Crown Court heard 31-year-old Smith and his older brother Charlie conned 86-year-old East Lancashire woman Mary Chew out of more than £250 after turning up, unasked, to power-wash the drive of her home last January.

Anthony even took Ms Chew to the bank the following day so she could withdraw more money to pay for a weed-killer solution.

Mrs Chew said she hadn’t wanted the Smiths to carry out the work but felt pressured into agreeing.

The brothers had offered to clean her front and back gardens but there were was no evidence they had done anything at the rear, the court heard.

Charlie, 39, of Bank Street, Barnoldswick, denied fraud and theft but was convicted after a two-day trial. He was jailed last year.

Anthony, 31, also of Bank Street, pleaded guilty to fraud and theft.

But when he was on bail for that offence he burgled the Nelson home of Geoffrey Briggs.

Judge Dodd said: “You went on to offend against Mr Briggs, a 93-year-old man, in his own home. He is frail with many issues.

“You and another targeted Mr Briggs due to his vulnerabilities, knowing he was elderly and frail. His wallet was taken from him. He was locked in the house His keys were posted back through the door. He was left in a confused state.”

Anthony pleaded guilty to burglary in relation to that offence, which happened on October 31.

Defending, Philip Holden said his client had led a relatively law-abiding life, having grown up in care, and lived with his auntie, for whom he was a carer. But once she died, when he was in his late 20s, he began living a lifestyle of taking drugs and committing crime to pay for them. Since Smith has been on remand, his first period in custody, Mr Holden said he has been studying English and Maths so he can turn away from a life of crime.

He added: “Mitigation can be kept very brief. His best mitigation is the guilty pleas he tendered at the plea and trial preparation stage.”