POLICE and an organisation for the elderly have welcomed the jailing of a drug addict who carried out the "despicable" robbery of a 90-year-old woman.
Michael Thomas, 24, of Clos Sant Paul, Llanelli, left Annie Morgan with a head injury, a broken shoulder and an injured arm after the attack earlier this month.
He was jailed on Monday at Swansea Crown Court for four years after admitting robbery and another offence of theft.
Detective sergeant Ifan Charles, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said: "This was a despicable crime against a vulnerable and elderly victim.
"We welcome the sentence imposed by the courts on this offender, and we hope it sends a very clear signal to others. If you commit crime you will be caught and face the consequences."
Thomas, who the court heard had been using heroin since he was nine, robbed Mrs Morgan in Llanelli town centre on January 11. He then stole a bag from Marie Davies, in her 70s, on the same day.
Mrs Davies escaped injury, but had been left too terrified to leave the house or answer the door, the court heard.
Judge Paul Thomas said his "stomach churned" when he saw Mrs Morgan's injuries.
The court heard the church organist was now living in a nursing home, and it was not yet known if she would be able to return to her own house or continue to play the instrument at her church, which had been one of her "few enjoyments" in life.
Prosecutor John Lloyd said Mrs Morgan felt she had lost her independence, was "extremely upset and tearful" and was still in "extensive pain".
Huw Rees, representing Thomas, said his client had accepted they were "despicable" offences, but said he had lost a number of close family members in a "short period".
Ann Dymock, chief officer of Age Cymru Sir Gar, which is based in Llanelli, said: "Everyone has a right to live their lives free of the fear of crime.
"We hope that the outcome of this case will reassure and comfort older people in Llanelli.
"We also hope that this case will act as a deterrent and send out a strong message that such abuse of older people will not be tolerated."
Mrs Dymock also moved to reassure older people across Carmarthenshire of the support available from Age Cymru Sir Gar.
"If they have concerns about their safety and security Age Cymru Sir Gâr can offer useful information via its fact sheets," she said.
Those with concerns can also contact the organisation by phone on 01554 784080, for information about the county's Bobby Van service, which helps ensure older people feel safe and secure in their homes.
The fact sheet is available online at www.agecymru. org.uk.