A RATHCOOLE pensioner and his disabled son who were targeted by heartless burglars last month have thanked the local community for their help and support following the sickening incident.
Thieves struck at Kenneth and Rodney Duff’s Carnreagh Bend home on the afternoon of Monday, June 18 - the second time the 72-year-old and his son, who suffers from epilepsy and is registered blind, have been targeted by criminals in the past six months.
During the latest incident, two men broke into their house and made off with a number of items, including a substantial sum of money that they had been saving for a holiday.
After hearing about the burglary, Rathcoole community worker Phil Hamilton put an appeal on social networking site Facebook asking people for donations to help pay for security improvements at the Duffs’ home. A number of people soon pledged donations and three local women - Tina Scott, Caroline Page and Liz Johnston - responded by holding a door-to-door collection.
Enough money was raised to install a burglar alarm and CCTV cameras, with the remaining money going towards replacing what was stolen from Kenneth and his 32-year-old son.
Mr Hamilton, who represents the Community Support and Development Partnership, said: “Both Ken and Rodney are well respected people in this community and there was a real outcry of disgust from the whole community when people found out that they had been targeted again.
“I would like to thank Tina, Caroline and Liz and everyone who donated towards the appeal. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people. We have had donations from people as far away as England and Scotland, as well as from people in Newtownabbey, and this just shows that there is great spirit and cohesion within our community.”
Mr Hamilton, who is also Chairman of the Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership, appealed for people across the borough to look of for their neighbours, particularly elderly, disabled and vulnerable residents.
Thanking the local community for their generous support in the wake of the burglary, Kenneth Duff, a retired Northern Ireland Railways worker, said the response had been “unbelievable”.
Speaking on behalf of himself and his father, Rodney commented: “We would like to thank all those who contributed to Monday’s appeal (June 18). The money will be used to provide security equipment following the recent problems in Carnreagh Bend.
“We would also like to thank Phil Hamilton from Rathcoole Community Partnership for highlighting the issue on Facebook and Black & White Security from Jordanstown for sourcing the equipment.”
Meanwhile, police officers investigating the burglary have appealed for anyone with information to contact them on 0845 600 8000.