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Robber jailed for three year crime spree of handbag snatches from elderly women

PUBLISHED: 18:46 03 September 2018 | UPDATED: 06:43 04 September 2018

A 24 year old man was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to robbery. Sonny Ball, of no fixed abode, also admitted other offences undr Operation Converter. Picture: Suffolk Police

A 24 year old man was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to robbery. Sonny Ball, of no fixed abode, also admitted other offences undr Operation Converter. Picture: Suffolk Police

Archant

A robber who “exploited and preyed on the elderly” has been jailed after targeting women’s handbags in a three year crime spree through Norwich and Lowestoft. .

Sonny Ball, 24, was jailed for 20 months today after admitting robbing five women in crime stretching back three years.

Ball, of no fixed abode, was caught after his latest robbery, of a woman in his 70s on Eleanor Road in Norwich on August 1.

After stealing her handbag and a bag of shopping, Ball used her contactless card to carry out two transactions.

But as part of a police initiative aiming at getting criminals to admit further offences, Operation Converter Ball pleaded guilty to four further robberies.

The oldest crime was in Lowestoft on October 28, 2015, when he used force to steal a handbag from a woman in her 70s on Rectory Road.

But over five days in late July of this year, Ball robbed another three women aged in the 50s and 70s.

On July 26 he stole a handbag from a woman in her 70s on Regent Road in Lowestoft, and on July 29 on King Street in Norwich, another woman in her 70s had her handbag snatched away through force.

Cards in the bag were later used to make a number of transactions at shops in the area.

Finally, on July 31 a woman in her 50s suffered minor injuries to her right knee, hip, ankle and left elbow after Ball stole her handbag on St Andrews Street in Norwich. Ball also admitted stealing four pairs of headphones from a shop on London Road North in Lowestoft on July 28, as well as admitting possession of cannabis.

Det Con Duncan Etchells, from the Operation Converter team, said: “Ball is an individual who exploited and preyed on the elderly with no thought to the upset and harm he may cause them.

“It is very satisfying to see him behind bars for some time where he will be able to reflect on the misery and distress he has caused his innocent victims.

“People who commit street robberies must understand that they stand a very good chance of being arrested, and if arrested they must be prepared to go to prison, because that is very likely to be the result of their offending.”

Operation Converter is an initiative aimed at encouraging offenders to admit their crimes.

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