Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 6°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Ex-police officer’s last years ‘ruined’ by distraction burglars

12:00 14 January 2013

Alan Airey was the victim of distraction burglars at his Wickham Market home

Alan Airey was the victim of distraction burglars at his Wickham Market home

Archant

THE daughter of an ex-police officer and Prisoner of War who was awarded the British Empire Medal has told how his final years were blighted by doubt after he became the victim of distraction burglars.

shares

Alan Airey, who lived in Wickham Market and served with Suffolk Police for 27 years, had about £800 stolen from his wallet when confidence tricksters conned their way into his home by promising to tidy his garden.

Mr Airey’s daughter Jane Smith Huggins was prompted to contact the East Anglian Daily Times after reading about its Safe in Your Home campaign, which was relaunched in response to a spate of incidents across the county where thieves talked their way into the homes of vulnerable people.

Mrs Smith Huggins, from Melton, near Woodbridge, said her father – who was 82 when the crime occurred – had felt “foolish” that he had been duped by the fraudsters, and the crime left him feeling vulnerable in his own home.

The incident began when two men came to Mr Airey’s front door and offered to tidy his garden. He needed some shrubs pruned so he took the men through his house to his back garden. But while he was talking to one of them, the other man took a wallet from the hall table containing Mr Airey’s pension.

Fifteen minutes later they had fled, leaving a mess in the back yard.

Mrs Smith Huggins recalled: “Being a retired police sergeant, he was so humiliated by what had happened – he felt dreadful about it because he thought people would think he was a stupid fool.

“He lost a lot of his confidence and didn’t go out much. He even stopped going to the British Legion – which he loved – because he felt so traumatised and embarrassed.”

She said although her father had died in 2005 – two years after the burglary – she was still angry that his life had been affected so much.

She added: “The money in dad’s wallet consisted of a few weeks’ pension recently withdrawn – a fact that was verified by the village post office. What really makes me angry is that someone who devoted his life to protecting people both in the war and as a police officer – and who was awarded a medal by the Queen – should have to be reduced to fear and embarrassment in the last years of his life just for the sake of a few hundred pounds.”

Although the number of reported cases of distraction burglary across Suffolk has dropped from 100 in 2006 to just 19 last year, the charity Age UK believes many incidents go undetected because the victims feel too embarrassed to tell the police.

Along with police, Trading Standards, Suffolk Fire & Rescue and the Royal British Legion, the charity is calling for people to take simple measures to prevent them from becoming victims of doorstep crime.

They have produced a number of information leaflets that are distributed through schools, shops and public libraries.

Suffolk Constabulary’s crime prevention officer David Kane urged people to remain vigilant against distraction burglars.

He said if anyone does become a victim, they should call the police, adding: “We are not asking people to install elaborate security systems.

“The simple routine of ‘lock, stop, chain, check’ can prevent an offender gaining access to your home.”

shares

0 comments

The scene at Uncle Sam's Great American Circus in Chantry Park after the incident

Two circus performers were rushed to hospital after a horror accident in front of a packed big top tent in Ipswich.

The annual East Bergholt Pram Race starts from the Royal Oak and visits the villages pubs

Thrilled East Bergholt residents turned out in force on Monday to see daring fundraisers dress up in their best costumes and battle in the 35th annual Pram Race.

Anglo-Saxons are at the Beerhouse in Bury St Edmunds to try a new beer which has been brewed for an upcoming event at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village. Back L-R: Dave Elliott, Nigel Simms, Alister Ryde with Demeter Stone (front).

Stunned beer festival-goers looked on in amazement as a group of Anglo-Saxon warriors invaded their pub.

Haverhill High Street

A vision for Haverhill town centre will move a step
nearer this week when it is presented to cabinet members at St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

Dame Sarah Storey at Bury St Edmunds SportsAid Lunch Club. Suffolk Golf and Spa Hotel, Fornham St Genevieve.

Six-times Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey, has hailed the efforts of the businesses behind a sporting lunch club in Bury St Edmunds as “invaluable” in helping the development of talented athletes from Suffolk.

The LeeStock music festival at Melford Hall in Long Melford in memory of Lee Dunford. The Big Alabama on stage.

Hundreds of people have enjoyed live music this weekend at a popular festival in memory of a young musician.

The lifeboat was called to the incident

The coastguard was called to help a boat which had run aground in the River Deben earlier this evening.

Police were at the scene

The A120 in Little Bentley, Essex is closed heading westbound after a crash.

St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils have been urged to fine irresponsible dog owners for not picking up after their pets

St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils have been criticised after it was revealed neither has issued a fine for dog fouling over the last three years.

Police were at the scene

The A1214 Valley Road in Ipswich is blocked in both directions after a crash involving two cars.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages