A woman who befriended an elderly man before breaking into his home and stealing eight of his legally-held shotguns has been jailed for five years.
Amanda Morris, 45, of Linden Grove, Leigh, was found guilty at Liverpool Crown Court of burglary earlier this month and sentenced today (Thursday).
Muhammed Shabib Ahmed, 25, of Bath Street, Southport, also pleaded guilty to burglary at Liverpool Crown Court at an earlier hearing.
He was jailed for 21 months.
The court heard the victim, who was 76 at the time, had been a registered firearms license holder since 1991.
He had amassed a significant collection of firearms, ammunition and air rifles at his Linden Grove home.
Morris and the victim had been friends for several years and she regularly visited his flat.
Two weeks before the burglary, the pair struck up a relationship.
On June 10, the victim left his flat for a hospital appointment with Morris also leaving to meet friends.
He later told police, Morris was “anxious” on the day of the burglary but her behaviour did raise any alarm bells with him.
But while he was out, a neighbour saw an unfamiliar black hatch back with the registration plate ‘MV11 YS’ parked outside the victim’s address, with people moving property from the downstairs flat into the vehicle.
When the victim returned to his property, he found the door unlocked and the secure iron gate leading to his firearm cabinets open, with eight shotguns missing.
Morris had keys to his flat, and knew where the keys to his firearms cabinets were kept.
A subsequent investigation revealed that the owner of the car seen outside the address was Muhammed Ahmed, who admitted driving from Liverpool to Leigh at the time of the offence and later pleaded guilty to his part in the burglary.
Det Sgt Lee Shaw said: “Morris befriended the vulnerable victim, identified what valuables he owned and then positioned herself to strike when the chance arose.
“It is surely no coincidence that she started a relationship with the victim just a couple of weeks before carrying out the burglary, allowing her even closer access to his life so she could steal his firearms while he was out of the way.
“While that is a despicable act in its own right, what is more worrying for the wider public is that these guns have not yet been recovered and have possibly ended up on the illegal weapons market, where they will be available to dangerous criminals.
“The reason we have such tight gun controls in this country is to prevent innocent people being caught up in violent crimes involving firearms.
“And each legitimately-owned gun which ends up in the hands of criminals increases the chances of innocent people being injured or even killed.”