A gang of criminals who used children to trick elderly people so they could steal from them have now been jailed for a total of nearly 20 years.
West Midlands Police found that Joseph Fannin and Francis Maughan had been on a burglary spree targeting a string of elderly people, the oldest of them 91.
Last year 46-year-old Fannin and 31-year-old Maughan carried an 18-month-old baby to the door of a 90-year-old woman's home in Rubery. The child was used to distract the woman whilst the men took her purse.
A few days later, Maughan went with a boy to a home in Weoley Castle and convinced an 87-year-old that the boy had lost his ball and it had landed in her garden. The woman looked for the ball, leaving the thief able to take her handbag from inside the house.
Investigators also found that Jolene Mahon, 29, had worked with the pair during a number of thefts. Mahon was able to use the story of the lost ball to steal a bank card from an 82-year-old woman in Northfield, while in a separate incident the women chatted to an 81-year-old man in his car while Maughan opened the boot and took a bag full of cash.
In some cases the criminals even told the elderly they were police officers searching for offenders.
All three members of the gang admitted conspiracy to commit burglary, while Mahon and Maughan also admitted to stealing from a vehicle.
Mahon has been jailed for three years, Fannin for five years and three months whilst Maughan has been sentenced to 10 years and nine months.