Burglars target homes of the elderly in Ballyclare

The Doagh Road in Ballyclare which has been the scene of a burglary at a 90-year-old's home during the past week. INNT 32-219-CON
The Doagh Road in Ballyclare which has been the scene of a burglary at a 90-year-old's home during the past week. INNT 32-219-CON
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Police are advising householders to ensure all their windows and doors are secured at night and when they are leaving their premises unoccupied after a recent spate of burglaries in Ballyclare.

On Thursday, August 2, police received a report that a house on Doagh Road in Ballyclare had been burgled overnight. A television and jewellery were among the items taken.

The daughter of the woman who lives in the house said her 90-year-old mother had lost items of sentimental value in the burglary.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said: “Whoever did it came prepared as they removed the panel of the back door and lifted it off neatly to get into the house.

“They took my mother’s large screen TV, six pairs of binoculars and a Zulu warrior shield that had belonged to my father.

“They also took all my mum’s good jewellery, which has great sentimental value to her and is worth a few thousand pounds as it is antique. They left behind all the costume jewellery.”

On Monday, August 6, police were made aware of an attempt to break into a house at Grange Drive during the early hours of the morning.

Later that same day police received a report of a burglary at another property on Doagh Road. A woman’s handbag was taken in this burglary and a 40-year-old man was subsequently arrested and charged with burglary and with possession of Class B drugs. He appeared at Belfast Magistrates court on Tuesday, August 7.

The residents of each property targeted were older people.

Police are advising householders to pay serious heed to the security of their homes.

“Consideration should also be given to installing a security system which includes lights and an alarm or fitting extra locks on doors and windows,” said a police spokeswoman.

“Officers would also encourage residents to look out for one and other and especially for older or vulnerable neighbours and to report anything suspicious to police.”

Ballyclare’s Alderman Paul Girvan has described as “dreadful” the predicament that some of the the elderly folk found themselves in during the break-ins.

“As far as I can make out the burglars came prepared. They removed the slips of doors to remove the windows from them and then made their way into houses where in some instances the elderly folk were present in the house and were, as a result, left feeling very vulnerable and threatened in their own homes,” said Alderman Girvan.

“I would implore on people in the area to keep an eye out for their elderly neighbours and maybe help them by leaving an outdoor light on in the evenings to deter those who attempt to prey on the vulunerable members of our society in this way.”