Three members of an organised crime group who target elderly and frail people at cash points were told by a judge that they were “mean-spirited and cruel.”
Nathan Brown, and sisters Amira and Yasmin Mahmood used distraction techniques to scam the victims at locations in Hertfordshire, Surrey and Kent.
They claimed the ATMwas broken and used sleight of hand with a piece of paper to cover their theft of bank cards from the mouth of the machine.
Hertfordshire Police launched Operation Supernal to catch the three who appeared for sentence at St Albans Crown Court Friday, April 28.
Brown, 38, of Bradymead, Beckton, East London. E6, Amira Mahmood , 31, of Lawrence Street, Canning Town, East London and Yasmin Mahmood, 33, of Winters Way, Waltham Abbey admitted conspiracy to steal between January 2, 2022 and March 15, 2022.
Brown, a convicted rapist who had been recalled to prison, admitted eight offences. Amira Mahmood also admitted eight offences and Yasmin Mahmood, their driver, admitted six offences.
Prosecutor Harper Marshall said they were involved in an organised crime group that travelled around targeting the vulnerable and elderly.
One incident occurred in St Albans on January 19 last year. An 83-year-old man was approached at the Nat Westby Amira Mahmood who was breathing down his neck and waving a piece of paper. He was followed by Brown, but on that occasion nothing was taken.
Later that day a 79-year-old woman was a Lloyds bank when Brown said her card might be stuck. She thought he was helping her, but realised he had taken her card. She put a block on it and nothing was taken.
The three were seen in a Vauxhall Astra car that had false plates. It was driven off, said Ms Marshall, but became stuck in traffic. The police arrived and prevented it moving off. Brown ran away, but the sisters were arrested.
£1,025 cash was found in a search at Amira Mahmood’s home.
Brown had 26 convictions for 52 offences. Some had been distraction thefts. He had been recalled to prison on licence following his arrest to serve the rest of a 9-year sentence for rape.
Amira Mahmood had eight previous convictions for 16 offences, mainly shop-lifting.
Yasmin Mahmood had two previous convictions for theft and shop-lifting.
Judge Francis Sheridan sentenced Brown to 15 months.
Amira Mahmood, a single mother of three on benefits, was given eight month jail sentence suspended for two years. She must abide by a 7pm to 7am curfew for 6 months and pay £2,200 compensation at the rate of £40 a month. The money found at her home was forfeited/
Yasmin Mahmood, also a single mother of three on benefits, was sentenced to a 7pm to 7am curfew for six months, with it starting at 8pm on a Tuesday and Thursdays. She was banned from driving for 5 months and must pay £1700 compensation at the rate of £40 a month.
The judge said: “What you were doing was as mean-spirited and cruel as it is possible to imagine. You picked on old, frail and vulnerable people.”
He said that had it not been for the police operation they would have picked on more victims.