A MAN who stole £9,000 by targeting an elderly woman has been sentenced to two years behind bars.

Trevor Couzens, 48, of Blackwater Drive, Totton, stole the money between January and May this year after building a friendship with a 73-year-old and gaining her trust.

Couzens was then given the victim’s bank card, withdrawing money for her, but taking extra funds which he kept for himself.

The 48-year-old also climbed through an open window into the 73-year-old’s flat, in Blackwater Drive, while she slept and woke to the sound of Couzens searching through her bag.

After raising the alarm, Couzens was arrested a few days later.

He pleaded guilty to burglary and stealing £9,000.

After being sentenced on Monday, the 48-year-old will spend the next two years in prison.

PC Ian Pierce from the Operation Hawk Team based at Southampton police station said: “Couzens wore the elderly victim down and she gave in to his demands for her bank card.

“She became trapped in a vicious circle with Couzens taking full advantage.”

The force has issued a warning to elderly and vulnerable people after other reports of bogus calls from people pretending to be officers.

Residents aged between 79 and 99 have all been conned out of thousands of pounds in Southampton and Eastleigh.

The brazen criminals told residents that they needed to withdraw money as part of a live investigation, and to lied to bank staff when taking out the funds in case bank workers were trying to con them.

On one occasion, the fraudster even arranged a taxi to take the resident to and from the bank, with victims asked to withdraw up to £6,000 cash.

Hampshire Constabulary’s Crime Prevention Advisor Sarah Cohen said: “Sadly, this type of incident is becoming all too common and scammers can make large sums of money daily.

“They will weave a web of stories and can be very convincing.

“However, no matter how believable they sound we would like to remind people that we, the police, would never call you and ask for money.

“A genuine police officer or any official would never ask a member of the public for money in this way.

“If someone calls you saying they are a police officer and asks you for money, hang up.”