Heartless thieves target Rathcoole pensioner

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POLICE are hunting heartless thieves who robbed a pensioner at his Rathcoole home on Boxing Day.

The two men approached the 74-year-old's house at Carmeen Drive in the estate at around 5pm.

After entering the property one thief held the homeowner down while the other threatened him and demanded money.

The pair made off in a dark coloured car with a wallet containing a substantial sum of cash and a mobile phone.

The elderly man sustained bruising in the attack and was left badly shaken by the ordeal.

Police say the burglars were described as being an 18 to 20-year-old man, of slim build and with dark hair, and a man aged in his 30s, of heavy build and wearing a grey coat. Both were said to have southern accents.

Alderman Billy DeCourcy, who lives in the area, condemned the incident, saying: "It's desperate, absolutely terrible that people aren't safe in their own homes any more."

Deputy Mayor Tommy Kirkham added: "I would appeal to anyone who saw anything suspicious or who has any information about this to report it to the PSNI immediately. These people must be caught."

Local community worker and PUP representative Phil Hamilton said he understood that the thieves may have called at the victim's home claiming to be selling carpets.

"People need to be vigilant and be on their guard to protect themselves against these types of bogus callers. I would urge anyone with information about what happened to contact the police," he said.

Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area or has further information about the incident is asked to contact investigating officers at Newtownabbey Station on 0845 600 8000.