News

Elderly man's home ransacked while at church

Thursday, 3 August 2017

HEARTLESS burglars who ransacked the house of an 82-year-old man when he was attending church have been described as "the scum of the earth".

Police are investigating after entry was gained into the house on the Edergole Road, between Fintona and Omagh, on Sunday morning. Though nothing was stolen during the break-in, the elderly resident has been left extremely shaken up - but he is determined to carry on living as normal.

The victim, who did wish to be named, believes the perpetrators are local and had been watching his movements for some time.

"When I returned from church, I was surprised to see the door was open - it had been prised open," he told the Tyrone Constitution. "They obviously used an iron bar or something like that to gain entry. I never thought, I just walked on into the house.

"It was wrecked - everything had been thrown out of the drawers and onto the floor. They were searching for money but thankfully they never left with a penny. It was obvious they were here for a while as they examined the place thoroughly, they even searched the attic.

"It could have been much worse - I'm glad I didn't bump into them as it's clear they were armed with an iron bar, or something similar."

Describing those responsible as 'the scum of the earth', he continued: "I believe they were watching my movements and may have been standing behind some bush waiting for me to leave. It's very obvious they know me and my movements.

"As an old man at 82, I'd like to live a quieter life. I'm very angry about this, but I want to try to carry on as normal. I'm going to stand up to it. I have a bedroom which is fairly secure so if I got into it, I would be safe enough until I get help, if it ever happens again. But I'm hope there will never be a repeat. I was born in this house and I've never been targeted in this way before.

"I have very good neighbours who helped me immensely. I immediately called my neighbour as soon as I noticed what had happened and he was out at my house straight away. The police were also here immediately - they've also been very good, and a forensic officer searched the house."

Mid Tyrone councillor, Bert Wilson, who lives close by, said the incident was "extremely nerve-racking" for the victim.

"The country is in a terrible state when a person can't even leave their house for an hour to go to church without having their property broken into," said Mr Wilson.

"These gangsters, or thugs - who ought to be locked up - have clearly been watching him for some time. It must be very nerve-racking to have your house ransacked. It once again highlights that the general public in the rural areas don't have security of any kind. There isn't enough police surveillance.

"I would appeal for anyone with information to come forward to the police."

A PSNI spokesperson said: "Police received a report of a burglary at a house in the Edergoole Road area of Omagh on Sunday, July 30, at around 11.50am.

"We believe that this house was broken into between 10.45am and 11.30am. Although the house was ransacked, nothing was taken. No-one was in the house at the time.

"Anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area around this time or who has information that could help our investigation should contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 669 of 30/7/17.

"Alternatively, information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

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