Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland links of duo on burglary probe team’s ‘most wanted’ list

Two men with links to Northern Ireland were named today in a list of Britain’s most wanted alleged doorstep burglars.

It was published by police in a bid to trace the suspects — who are suspected of preying on elderly and vulnerable people in their homes — and bring them to justice.

John Nolan, aged in his early 20s, is wanted by the PSNI over the violent burglary of the house of a 72-year-old Belfast woman.

He was one of three men alleged to have entered the house and punched the victim to the ground before making off with a substantial sum of money.

Alfred Adams (32) was arrested in 2002 over numerous distraction burglaries and other offences in the north of England.

He was recaptured in 2006 and jailed for 12 years before absconding from HMP Kirkham last March.

He has used numerous aliases and is believed to have links in West Yorkshire, Manchester, Essex and Northern Ireland.

The full list of 10 men was published in an effort to bring the criminals — who are still at large — to justice.

Investigators said that the number of so-called distraction burglaries, in which criminals pretend to be workmen or officials to gain entry to a house, often soars in February and March.

They brought together a list of suspects including offenders who claimed to be emergency plumbers, roofers and even friends of their neighbour.

Among those on the list is serial offender Patrick Connors (30), who seriously injured a pedestrian he hit in a vehicle while escaping from police.

Connors, who has links in Coventry and Ireland and uses the alias William Ward, has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison in his absence.

Another wanted man, Joseph Lowther (26), allegedly stole £3,000 cash from one elderly victim in Lancashire after claiming he needed the money for materials to repair a roof.

The rogue trader is wanted for a string of similar suspected offences across the north west of England.

The most wanted list was brought together by the Operation Liberal specialist police unit that monitors distraction burglaries and distributed by charity Crimestoppers.

It echoes other successful publicity drives targeting violent criminals, suspects thought to have fled to Spain and missing paedophiles.

Dave Cording, of Crimestoppers, said: “Distraction burglars target the most vulnerable members of our communities, often the elderly.

“It is not simply the financial loss but the effect this type of crime has on the victim, chipping away at their independence and their peace of mind. Cash is stolen by using a variety of different distraction tactics. The individuals prey on older people who may be at risk and need to be brought to justice.

“If you have any information on these most wanted individuals, please contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously, or fill in an online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. We guarantee that no one will know your identity.”

Deputy Chief Constable Peter Goodman, who leads a collaboration of five forces in the Midlands, said: “Operation Liberal works with all UK police forces to target and catch those who prey on the elderly and vulnerable.

“While distraction burglary isn't a common crime, it often has a totally devastating effect on the victims.”

To view the 10 most wanted individuals, visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org/wanted and to pass information to police call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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