Heartless thieves who ransacked an elderly Derry woman’s home as she attended church have been condemned.
The break-in at the home of the Eglinton parishioner took place while she was attending a religious service at St Canice’s Church of Ireland Church to mark the institution of the parish’s new Rector, Rev Paul Hoey on Friday evening.
Quite apart from the theft, the sense of violation in such incidents can be extremely traumatic for victims, particularly older people.Rev Paul Hoey
Thieves broke into the woman’s home in the village and ransacked every room in the house.
The break-in was discovered when the lady returned home after the service.
Church officials said she was extremely shaken by the incident and was comforted by parishioners.
The Rector of Faughanvale, Rev Paul Hoey, who visited the woman afterwards, has condemned those responsible for the break-in.
Rev Hoey said: “This was a despicable crime against a devoted member of our parish and this community. Quite apart from the theft, the sense of violation in such incidents can be extremely traumatic for victims, particularly older people.
“Such crimes are deplorable at any time, but it was particularly upsetting for the victim of this incident that her home was broken into while she was in church, attending a service.
“I am grateful that fellow parishioners responded – as Christians should – in such a caring and compassionate way. I have assured the victim that she will have our support and be in our prayers in the days ahead.”
Speaking about those responsible, Rev Hoey added: “I pray, also, that the person or persons responsible for the break-in will experience a change of heart and see the error of their ways. They, too, need our prayers.
“I appeal for anyone with information about the break-in to give it to the Police and I hope that the perpetrators are apprehended as quickly as possible.”
The PSNI have urged people right across the community to ‘be a good neighbour’, especially with the winter evenings drawing in.
They have asked people to be vigilant and to look out for one another, not only regarding possible break-ins but also the general well-being of neighbours.
They have advised people to ring 999 if they have an urgent concern, and to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report suspicious activity.