Burglary victim speaks of crime fear

AN ELDERLY man has spoken for the first time about his fears for his personal safety after his house was burgled as was gardening outside.The 74-year-old is still so frightened by the attack on his home in Chelmsford that he wishes only to be identified as Sid in case of reprisals.

AN ELDERLY man has spoken for the first time about his fears for his personal safety after his house was burgled as was gardening outside.

The 74-year-old is still so frightened by the attack on his home in Chelmsford that he wishes only to be identified as Sid in case of reprisals.

He has talked exclusively to the East Anglian Daily Times about the burglary to help Essex Police with their month-long Operation Relentless, which targeted persistent burglars and "at risk" neighbourhoods.

The operation ended yesterday after 77 arrests were made across the county and 109 offences detected.


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Sid was gardening in his front garden in March, when a burglar climbed over the 6ft fence around his back garden and went into his house through the back door, which was shut but not locked.

He said: "I went into the house and found the back door and front gate were wide open. At first I thought maybe my daughter had come home early but then I went upstairs and found two watches lying on the stairs. I looked into the rooms and was astonished when I saw they had been completely upturned."

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More than £1,000 worth of jewellery was taken.

He said: "The thief stole jewellery passed down through my family. Insurance is obviously helpful but they do not have a cupboard of memories. That is the part that they cannot replace.

"I have lost all interest in everything outdoors. Ever since it happened I have had headaches, which I am going to the hospital to have checked out. If I am out in the garden I have to go back indoors every few minutes to check no one is in there," Sid added.

"I hate going into the bedroom as I know someone has been in there and it is scary as I think they will come back. My daughter wants us to move but I am not sure if I want to go as we have friends here."

The burglar has never been caught and there have been similar burglaries in the area, which the police believe are being carried out by the same person.

Sid said: "If I ever met the person who did this I would probably retaliate. I have a lot of sympathy with people like Tony Martin."

Sid has now made alterations to his home to make it safer, including installing a burglar alarm and changing the locks.

Kathy Payne, crime reduction officer, said: "This whole operation aims to make people more aware of what they can do to make it harder for burglars to get into their homes and to stop them being complacent about security.

"It makes it a lot more realistic to hear someone speaking of their experience. Unfortunately, I do not think people ever get over burglaries."

Operation Relentless started on May 1 and seven people were arrested in Braintree, eight in Chelmsford, four in Colchester and 12 in Tendring.

Head of crime, Det Chief Supt Steve Reynolds, said: "This operation has targeted the everyday burglar and we have also offered useful advice to the public regarding home security. It has been an all round effort by officers, support staff and special constables from across the force and their determination to rid the county of this crime has paid dividends."

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