'Callous' mother and daughter jailed over crime spree targeting the elderly

Cherrelle Clarke and her mother Dionne Clarke have been jailed after robbing bank cards from elderly people and using them to buy cigarettes and alcohol. (Kent Police)
Cherrelle Clarke and her mother Dionne Clarke have been jailed after robbing bank cards from elderly people and using them to buy cigarettes and alcohol. (Kent Police)

A mother and daughter who robbed elderly people then used their cash and stolen bank cards to buy cigarettes and alcohol have been jailed.

Dionne Clarke, 57, and daughter Cherrelle Clarke, 29, from Thanet, Kent, carried out a string of robberies from elderly people - sometimes by force, and sometimes by pretending to help them - in May and June this year.

The pair then used stolen bank cards to to buy cigarettes and alcohol until they were finally caught and charged with robbery, theft and fraud offences.

They have now been jailed - Dionne Clarke for three years and eight months and her daughter for five years - after pleading guilty at Canterbury Crown Court.

Watch: Mother and daughter steal bank cards from elderly victims

Kent Police said in May 2022, the pair robbed a man of his wallet in a Canterbury supermarket car park then in the following month, stole a purse from a woman under the guise of helping to carry her shopping up some steps in Ramsgate.

The stolen bank cards were then used in shops, a café and a pub where they were found by officers and arrested.

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On 25 May, Kent Police were called to a report of a robbery after a man in his 80s felt someone trying to steal his wallet in a supermarket car park in Canterbury. He tried to keep hold of it but a woman pulled the wallet with force, causing the victim to fall to the ground and sustained grazes.

An investigation by Kent Police later identified the offenders as the Clarkes who were seen throwing the wallet into a river after removing the bank cards. The card was used twice at a shop, then to pay for a taxi, and then a further four times at a store in Sturry.

A general view of Canterbury Crown Court in Kent, where Martin Eke was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of raping Jacqueline Spriddell almost 26 years ago.   (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
The mother and daughter were jailed at Canterbury Crown Court. (Stock image: Getty) (Gareth Fuller - PA Images via Getty Images)

In another incident on 6 June, a woman in her 80s was approached by the pair in Ramsgate as she made her way up some steps. They offered to help her, and she later realised that her purse containing £145 in cash and her bank card had been stolen.

She reported it to the bank who informed her that her bank card had been used multiple times.

Crime Squad detectives identified the Clarkes as the suspects and they were traced to a pub in Ramsgate where they were caught red-handed with the stolen bank card and arrested.

Senior investigating officer Detective Sergeant Jay Robinson said: "The Clarkes were callous in their approach, targeting elderly people and either forcefully taking what was not theirs or tricking their victim with fake kindness while they stole.

"They then spent someone else’s money on tobacco and alcohol. I hope they use their time in custody to seriously question their choices in life and perhaps realise how despicable their behaviour is."