Burglars who stole from terminally-ill cancer patient told to ‘get a conscience’

Police are investigating the incident

Police are investigating the incident

Victims of a break-in during which a terminally-ill cancer patient had cash for a specialist chair stolen say they hope the burglars “get a conscience”.

Suspects stole a key safe from outside a home in Crown Street, Dedham, and used the key to access the house while the occupiers slept.

Once inside they stole more than £300 cash, a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone, and jewellery including a gold seven-bar gate bracelet, a gold topaz and diamond ring, and gold multi coloured twisted earrings.

A Panasonic Lumix camera, containing irreplaceable family photographs from a recent trip to Australia.

The money stolen had been drawn out by 67-year-old Peter Howe to buy a specialist chair to help him get up.


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On the day of the break-in, overnight on Monday February 29 into March 1, Mr Howe, who has recently had his bone cancer of ten-years return aggressively, had received his first day of chemotherapy.

His partner of 12 years and carer Elaine Pulford, who the jewellery belonged to, said: “It has left us scared. We have had the locks changed, but we are absolutely petrified.

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“Every little noise you hear, you think it is them back again.

“It has frightened Peter quite a bit. He is not in a good place at the moment.

“Us speaking out might not jog the burglars, they are just in it for the money, but maybe they, or someone who knows them, will get a conscience.

“Quite a lot of sentimental things were stolen which we would like back.”

A black wallet embossed with “Gibraltar” and a black-and-white Michael Kors handbag were also stolen. The stolen mobile phone was locked to an Australian mobile network, so will be difficult to use.

Mr Howe’s sister has now lent him money to buy the chair with.

Pc Wendy Crowson, of Colchester CID, said: “Burglary is a distressing crime, but this incident was even more upsetting for the resident because he had started chemotherapy treatment that day and planned to use the money to buy a specially adapted chair the following day.

“The camera also contained irreplaceable photographs, while the jewellery stolen had been collected across 50 years.”

A second home in the street also had the key safe stolen, but the 76-year-old female resident heard a noise at about 10.10pm and switched on a light, causing the suspects to run off.

It is believed they were two men, aged between 16 and 20, wearing dark hooded tops.

Key safes are used to allow carers or family members access to vulnerable people’s homes, and Essex Police only recommend the use of police-approved devices.

Witnesses or anyone with information should contact Pc Crowson on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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