Thieves target elderly woman while she attended Mass

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An elderly woman has been left traumatised after thieves targeted her home while she was at Mass.

Heartless thieves stole money she had collected selling Mass Cards and cash she had saved for her heating bill.

Local SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden said the woman, who is in her 80s, has been left badly shaken after Saturday night’s ordeal.

“I want to condemn the latest burglary on an elderly lady. While the lady was out at Mass in Derrytrasna her home was broken into and a sum of cash was taken.

“She had money from selling Mass Cards and also kept cash for her heating bill,” he explained.

“Having called with the lady she was still in a state of shock and very distressed at the thought of someone being in her home while she was out.

“I would call on people to please watch out for their neighbours, especially the elderly as many are living alone.

“Over these past few weeks I have received reports of people calling at houses in the Derrytrasna/Derrymacash area selling Christmas hampers, GAA tickets from other counties as well as cars and vans, selling tools and offering to do work around their homes. These may be genuine enough but in most cases I believe they are false and are only a decoy to set up a burglary. Again I’m calling on people to take the registration number of vehicles, ask for ID and be careful when opening your door especially at night. If you think someone is acting suspiciously or if someone calls selling goods do not bring them into your home . Ring PSNI or contact a family member or friend immediately.”

Police said they received a report at around 8pm on Saturday night of a burglary in the Wolf Island Terrace area of Lurgan. It’s believed the burglary occurred between 5:40pm and 7:40pm and that a sum of cash was stolen.

Meanwhile a number of other robberies took place across Armagh on Saturday night.

Police said: “Shortly after 9:30pm, a couple reported they had returned to their home in the Breezemount area of Drumorgan in Hamiltonsbawn to find their property had been ransacked. It’s believed entry was gained through a window sometime between 4:45pm and 9:15pm on Saturday, and that jewellery and cash were stolen.

“Shortly before midnight on Saturday, police received a report of a burglary at a house in the Riverside area of Gilford where entry was gained through a window. It’s believed the burglary occurred sometime between 12 noon and 11:55pm. It is not been established what, if anything, was taken.”

Chief Inspector David Nixon said: “We are appealing for anyone who witnessed any of the incidents, or anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation, to contact police.

“Burglaries are a violation of the things people hold most dear – the possessions they’ve worked hard to buy and to enjoy as well as the items of sentimental value they cherish. I would appeal to property owners not to take security for granted. When you leave the property, make sure all the doors and windows are locked and secure and always keep your keys safe. Always keep your doors and windows locked and ensure you can identify callers before you open the door.

“Being a good neighbour is one of the best deterrents, as criminals and thieves can’t operate if they know their every move is being watched. As it only takes a few minutes to commit a burglary, the importance of promptly reporting of all suspicious activity to the police should be obvious. I would also ask anyone who notices suspicious activity in their neighbourhood to call us immediately as this could prevent someone from becoming a victim of crime.”