A massive surge in crimes committed by OAPs has sparked a ‘grey crime wave’ and seen the number of offences carried out by over 65s – DOUBLE over the last five years.
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OAPs in Cambridgeshire have been charged with a variety of crimes which include carrying knives and guns, theft, fraud, shoplifting, drink-driving and sexual offences.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary today revealed that crimes have risen by a staggering 47 per cent for the age group since 2007.
A 99-year-old pensioner arrested in the region while ”equipped for stealing” in 2008 is thought be Britain’s oldest crime suspect.
Octogenarians from Cambridgeshire have also been arrested for actual bodily harm and common assault.
And one 84-year-old man and an 81-year-old woman were arrested for grievous bodily harm.
More than 60 pensioners have been arrested for driving under the influence of drink or drugs or for failing to supply a breath test sample since 2008.
Officers arrested 175 OAPs last year, 176 in 2009, 140 the previous year and 119 in 2007, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Terry Thompson, of Age UK, Cambridgeshire, believes the reason for the rise could be that people are living longer.
He said: ”These are my own personal views, but obviously longevity comes into it and the increase in the figures is probably pro rata with the number of people living longer.
”As for carrying guns and knives, I think the only guns they may be carrying are from the Boer War, and not as offensive weapons.
”With drink-driving it may be that as people get older they are less aware of how they are driving and more easily get caught by the police.
”But you would have to undertake a massive study to find out the reasons for the increase.”
However, police officers warned that old-age offenders will not benefit from special treatment if they are caught breaking the law.
A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said: ”Anyone who commits a crime will be dealt with robustly.”
In October last year Dennis O’Brien, 75, was jailed at Norwich Crown Court for offences including theft and handling stolen goods.
One unit at Kingston prison in Portsmouth recently installed stair lifts to cope with elderly inmates and trained its staff in nursing skills.