Saga louts on rampage in Lake District beauty spots


They are mystified by the greyhaired crimewave which has seen an 84-year-old man among 64 pensioners arrested in 12 months for serious crimes including drug supply and harassment.

Graeme Haslam, who runs a B&B in the South Lakes, said: “Saga louts drink too much, act disgracefully and cause a public nuisance. Round here they should know better.”

A Cumbria Police spokesman added yesterday.

“Age is no deterrent to prosecution.”

A police source added: “We don’t think the Saga lout problem is any worse here than in other counties but it’s always unsettling when pensioners get involved in crime.”

There has been a 50 per cent surge in crimes committed by the elderly over the past five years.

These include carrying knives and guns, theft, fraud, drinkdriving and sexual offences.

Pressure groups for the elderly fear the trend is sparked by anxiety over tightening budgets, rising fuel bills and the cost of living.

In 2012, Ministry of Justice data revealed a 20 per cent increase since 2008 in the number of over-60s behind bars – with Kingston prison, in Portsmouth, forced to refurbish one wing with a stairlift.

Cambridgeshire police said crimes for the age group have risen by 47 per cent since 2007.

In South Cumbria, theft ranked as the number one crime committed in this age bracket, followed by assault, having a dangerous dog and harassment.

Hugh Tomlinson, deputy chief officer of Age UK South Lakeland, said crime could be linked to increased poverty and fear.

He said the charity had seen a huge increase in the number of elderly people seeking welfare advice and being directed to food banks in the past 18 months.

He said 42 per cent of pensioners are worried how they can manage on their income.

Mr Tomlinson added: “For the first time, we have had to set up a debt advice service.

“We have also seen a 37 per cent increase in the number of people seeking welfare benefits.”

He said tightened pension budgets could be leading older people into committing petty crimes, or getting involved in the murky world of dealing drugs.

“A rise in theft cases could be a direct result of people being in dire straits,” he said.

“The majority of elderly people are on a fixed income yet rent and bills and other outgoings continue to rise.

“It’s not as if they have a coping mechanism like you and I, by simply taking another job to earn extra money. That is not an option for someone aged 75.

“Some are going without food or heating yet have £3,000 tucked away in the bank in case the sky falls in. They live in destitution and then end up in A&E.”