Thieves ransack home while OAP sleeps

AN ELDERLY woman has slammed brazen thieves who ransacked her Suffolk bungalow and made off with thousands of pounds worth of antiques while she slept.

AN ELDERLY woman has slammed brazen thieves who ransacked her Suffolk bungalow and made off with thousands of pounds worth of antiques while she slept.

The 85-year-old woke on Tuesday morning to discover the irreplaceable items – passed down to her by her late father – had been taken during the early morning raid on her home in Great Barton, near Bury St Edmunds.

“I got up at the normal time to have my breakfast and realised that the curtains in the lounge had been drawn,” said the victim, who does not wish to be named.

“When I went to investigate I discovered that I had been burgled and it was just such a shock, especially because it had happened while I was in the house.”

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Among the items taken was a ceramic green and white oyster dish, which had been in the pensioner's family for almost a century, and three porcelain figurines.

“A man came to the house about a week ago and told me he was interested in buying the oyster dish.

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“He said he would give me £4,000 for it but I told him it wasn't for sale,” she said.

Police believe it could have been the same man who returned on Tuesday to steal the antiques.

The lady said: “I do not know how much the items were worth but it is the sentimental value of them that is the frustrating part.

“It is not very nice thinking that they were in the house while I was asleep, and I am just glad I didn't get up to find them still in the lounge because I have no idea what they would have done.

“I am too old to dwell on what has happened and although I am angry that these people have come into my home and taken my things, I just want to try and forget about it now.”

The theft is the latest in a spate of incidents to hit Suffolk. Earlier this month an 81-year-old man from Bardwell was targeted by a bogus caller, who distracted the victim while an associate stole a white jug and an antique cup and saucer from inside the house.

The thefts have prompted stark warnings from police in Suffolk, who are urging owners of precious antiques to be on their guard.

Force intelligence officer Dc Ernie Cole said he believes steps should be taken to ban cold calling on people's homes.

“These people do not make their money by being honest, and unsolicited calling in this day and age is completely unacceptable,” he said.

“Many of these items are extremely valuable but they have often been passed down through the generations so the current owners have no idea how much they are really worth.

“We do not know for certain whether the thieves in this particular case had anything to do with the man who went to the lady's house during the previous week. But it is a big coincidence that the exact same items that the original caller had been interested in were stolen just a few days later.”

Dc Cole believes the only way to prevent the thefts is by not letting the bogus callers in the house in the first place.

“There are a lot of reputable dealers in this county and if someone wants to sell something I would be happy to put them in touch with their local antiques buyer,” he said.

“I would love to see the whole business of cold calling outlawed but in the mean time we need to educate people so we can stop these people getting away with it.”

The man who originally called at the lady's house to look at the antiques has been described as white, in his 40s, of average build and has short fair blonde hair.

Police would like to hear from anyone who has received similar calls at their door from someone expressing an interest in antiques.

Contact Ixworth Police Station on 01284 774100, or if you would like information on reputable antiques dealers contact Dc Ernie Cole on 01473 613500.

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