A 91-year-old man who gave evidence which helped to put a burglar behind bars has been honoured posthumously by police.
Ken Baker was the victim of a distraction burglary at his house in Longley Road, Sandford Hill, Stoke-on-Trent, last April. where a man entered, pretending to be from the gas board, and stole £700.
Mr Baker was a key witness in the trial at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court which resulted in 41-year-old Edward Delaney being convicted for conspiracy to commit distraction burglaries.
Delaney was jailed for 10 years in October 2018. He was part of a group of men whose crimes also included tricking their way into an 83-year-old’s house in Great Wyrley, south Staffordshire, and stealing £10,000 from a set of drawers after claiming they were from the water board.
Mr Baker was not attacked physically but felt threatened and was about to undergo chemotherapy at the time. Sadly, he died before Delaney was convicted, but his evidence was critical.
Detective Chief Superintendent Jav Oomer, of Staffordshire Police, said: “Mr Baker was a key witness as many of the other victims who had suffered similar circumstances were too afraid, frail or vulnerable to come forward.
“Unfortunately he died the day before the offender went to court and pleaded guilty so he didn’t get to hear the good news, but we’re so grateful for his courage and help in bringing Delaney to justice.”
DCS Oomer presented Mr Baker’s niece, Patricia Webster, who travelled from France, with a Certificate of Appreciation.
Detective constables Natalie Edwards and Lee Cartwright were commended for their work during this investigation.
Other officers commended included the teams led by Detective Chief Inspector Paul Bentley and Detective Inspector Lesley Fowler who secured lengthy prison sentences for importation and dealing of cocaine, and officers working on historic rape cases.
Family liaison officers were also commended for their work.
DCS Oomer said: “There is some terrific work here from dedicated and conscientious police officers and staff which has resulted in lengthy sentences for dangerous and violent offenders and those who would prey on the vulnerable in our communities.
“I’m proud to lead a team that is committed to bringing offenders before the courts and protecting our communities in Staffordshire.”