Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 11°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She added: “The money in dad’s wallet consisted of a few weeks’ pension recently withdrawn – a fact that was verified by the village post office.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

Adele Bellis says her life has been changed forever by the attack

A beautician who lost an ear, was left partially bald and has permanent scarring after being attacked at a Lowestoft bus stop has spoken out.

Playtime fun at Clifford Road, School, Ipswich, in March 1974. What playtime games do you recall? (Photo by Paul Nixon/Archant)

Schools soon begin another term and proud parents will be filling Facebook with first day at school photos.

Grafitti under the A14 B1113 Newton Road bridge.

Colourful street art which has appeared on an underpass on the outskirts of a Suffolk town has sparked a debate about whether provisions should be made for it to become a feature elsewhere in the area.

Ipswich Academy.

The new sponsors of two Ipswich academies in special measures have outlined their vision to improve their schools.

A spooky procession through Christchurch Park before the start of the fireworks in 2014

There will be an army of ghouls and zombies filling Christchurch Park next month – but do not let that put you off watching Ipswich’s Halloween firework display.

Police at the scene of the shooting at Forum Court in Bury St Edmunds.

A company director is the latest person to have been charged in an attempted murder inquiry.

Cultural Review published into ECFRS.

This morning Irene Lucas has presented her independent Cultural Review into behaviour at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to the brigade and public.

Eddie Brown in 2004

Tributes have been paid to a former Suffolk world darts champion who has died at the age of 78.

Staff and volunteers at Ipswich Library with some of the top ten books in Suffolk 
Matt Shenton, Marion Harvey, Calum Holmes and Hannah Daly

A woman with dementia in a desperate bid to find her best friend, an internal fight to fill a parish council seat and dealing with conspiracy and sabotage to take control of the family business.

Proposed housing site in Poplar Lane , behind the Holiday Inn ,Ipswich.

Almost 500 new homes could be built on the edge of Ipswich in a move which has prompted concern among local residents.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages