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GUILTY OF 2 RAIDS (and I'd like another 588 taken into consideration).

Byline: JEFF EDWARDS, Chief Crime Correspondent

A BURGLAR who stole from more than 1,000 pensioners has given police a list of 588 crimes he carried out in an 18-month spree.

Martin Maloney posed as a policeman to con his way into people's homes and made off with around pounds 250,000 in raids across the South of England.

The 22-year-old crook offered his unsuspecting victims advice on crime prevention, cynically telling them: "There are a lot of villains out there, you need to protect yourself." He then rifled through their cabinets and drawers looking for cash and jewellery as he pretended to check their homes. His oldest victim was a woman of 99.

Maloney's spree ended when he was caught earlier this year.

One detective said: "He was a one-man crimewave, preying on the vulnerable and wreaking havoc.

"Sometimes he was committing three or four jobs in a day.

"Most of the time he was only getting pension money but in some cases he got several thousands of pounds which represented some poor soul's life savings."

Maloney, of Kentish Town, North London, drove around in a Range Rover and used the stolen cash to buy flats to rent out.

He has admitted two raids and will ask for the other 588 to be taken into consideration when he appears at Harrow crown court for sentencing next month.

After his arrest, detectives took more than two weeks driving him around so he could point out the homes he had raided.

Police announced yesterday they had arrested 369 suspected burglars as part of operation Safer Homes in London at the weekend.

Stolen property worth nearly pounds 500,000 was uncovered, including computers, TVs, video recorders, cameras jewellery and antiques. Officers charged 163 people with with burglary and handling stolen goods.

During one raid, a man thought to be on drugs tried to stab a constable in the eye before being restrained.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said last night: "We intend to drive the burglars out of business. We will put pressure on them wherever they are operating.

"These raids demonstrate our determination to put a stop to the activities of burglars."

Detectives in Liverpool said yesterday that criminals have been selling the addresses of vulnerable old folk to other crooks in pubs for pounds 10.

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CAR: Range Rover like Maloney's
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 29, 2002
Words:393
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