A DRUG addict who targeted elderly householders and tricked his way into their homes has been jailed for six years by a judge at Bradford Crown Court.
Christopher Ainley's two victims both lived in Dalton, where he was staying at the time.
The court heard that the second burglary took place just days after he was released on bail for the first offence.
Judge Robert Bartfield branded Ainley a coward and said both his victims had been powerless to prevent him.
"Those who pick on the elderly and disabled are playing for very high stakes as far as the courts are concerned because if the courts won't protect them nobody will,"' he added.
Ainley, 29, was living in Longfield Avenue, Dalton, when he stole a wallet with £40 from the home of a 60-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer. He claimed he was collecting for a church charity.
Four days later Ainley was arrested and admitted it, but he was then released on bail.
Five days later he conned his way into the home of a 66-year-old widow.
Prosecutor John Taylor said the woman suffered from cancer and had only been discharged from hospital the previous day.
"The defendant then helped her back into an armchair in her sitting room,"' said Mr Taylor.
"Her open handbag was on the floor by the chair. He stole her purse containing £50 and her debit card."'
Ainley was arrested again on Christmas Eve, but denied being involved in the second offence although the victim later picked him out on an identification parade.
Mr Taylor said Ainley had been due to stand trial last month, but he eventually pleaded guilty to carrying out the two burglaries.
The court heard that Ainley had served two prison sentences for offences of burglary and his barrister Colin Harvey said his client was ashamed.
"For what it's worth ... he would wish sincerely and genuinely to apologise to the elderly people."