A roofer who stole an elderly couple’s savings after claiming he had diarrhoea will be spending Christmas behind bars.

Isaac Lowe was carrying out building work on the couple’s home in Darlington in September this year when he asked to use the bathroom as he said he had an upset stomach.

Lowe used the toilet twice, and on his second visit the homeowner noticed he had been gone a long time.The Northern Echo: Isaac Lowe

It later transpired that while upstairs, the 36-year-old had gone into the couple’s bedroom and stolen more than £8,700 in cash from a box hidden under the bed.

Lowe attempted to evade arrest but was captured on camera trying to hide in woodland by a police drone operator.

When officers arrested Lowe, they found more than £11,460 in cash stuffed into a pillowcase in the hotel room he was living in following a relationship breakdown the previous month.

Lowe was charged with burglary, which he admitted, and appeared at Teesside Crown Court on Monday (December 4) where he was jailed for two years. He was also ordered to pay compensation to the couple, who are in their seventies.

In statements read out in court, they said they no longer felt safe in their home, in which they have lived for more than 50 years.

“I feel absolutely gutted and broken. I am so careful with the house, keeping the doors and windows locked at all times,” said the woman.

“After the police went I just went upstairs and got upset, I don’t want to sleep in the bed and feel like the house is dirty now.

“We have lived here for 50 years and I loved this house, but I don’t want to be here anymore.”

 Detective Sergeant Chris Weighill, from Darlington Volume Crime Team, said: “Burglary is an appalling invasion of privacy that can have a truly devastating impact on victims.

“It is not just the damage caused, the mess made, and the items stolen – knowing that someone has been in your home and tarnished the very place you are supposed to feel safe can take considerable time to overcome.

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“The victims in this case trusted Lowe to carry out work on their home, and he completely took advantage of them – stealing their savings and leaving them feel unsafe in their own home. His behaviour is utterly despicable.

“This was a real team effort by the entire Volume Crime Team who worked long shifts to secure a positive result.

“While we can never repair the hurt Lowe has caused, I hope this result brings the victims some solace that he is now behind bars and unable to hurt them anymore.”