THREE people who terrorised elderly pensioners in a bid to steal cash have been banned from every nursing home and sheltered housing complex in Blackburn with Darwen.

Julie Taylor, 43, Michael McCann, 41, and Cheryl Leech, 35, were each handed a two-year anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) after actively preying on people they believed to be elderly and vulnerable.

Police said the trio pestered residents in the Audley area of the town by knocking on their doors and windows in the early hours of the morning begging for cash.

They picked their victims after meeting them at local pubs or seeing them in the town centre, officers said.

On some occasions, they would even offer to get their victim’s shopping, taking the money but never returning with any goods.

Sgt John Cisco, of South East Blackburn neighbourhood policing team, fought to secure the ASBOs after witnessing the friends’ ‘despicable’ behaviour.

He said: “McCann, Taylor and Leach all targeted and befriended elderly and vulnerable people.

“They abused and threatened them and treated them in the most appalling manner.

“To prey on the elderly in this way is despicable.

“I hope this action helps to protect the more vulnerable members of the community whilst sending a strong message out that the police and council refuse to tolerate this type of behaviour."

Under the conditions of the ASBO imposed at Blackburn Magistrates’ Court all three are banned from entering the grounds of any sheltered or residential housing area and must not solicit money, possessions or goods from anyone over the age of 65 unless they are a recognised seller.

They are not to cause harassment, alarm or distress to anyone in Blackburn with Darwen area, act in an anti-social way or associate with a number of named people.

Leach, now of Mather Street, Bury, has also been banned from entering the whole of Blackburn with Darwen because of her behaviour.

Speaking after the hearing the mum said: “A lot of what has been said for the ASBO happened in my past. I am in a different place with my recovery and I want to put it behind me.

“I don’t live in Blackburn with Darwen anymore, I have moved on. I just want to get on with things now.”

McCann and Taylor, both of Downham Street, Blackburn have been banned from certain parts of Blackburn including Shadsworth, the Catherdral grounds and Grimshaw Park area as outlined on a map.

Officers worked closely with a number of agencies to secure the ASBOs, including Blackburn with Darwen Council and Twin Valley Homes.