Pensioner (84) woken from sleep by masked intruders

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An 84-year-old Limavady man has described how he was woken from his sleep to find one of three masked intruders at his bedroom door.

The man, who does not want to be identified, was the victim of a burglary at his home in the Thackeray Place area of Limavady on Thursday, March 19th, between 8pm and 8.30pm.

The pensioner - who was involved in action in the South Pacific and during the Cold War with the RAF, wasn’t injured in the 15-minute ordeal.

Speaking to the Journal, he said: “I had gone to bed around 7pm and read for a while, and it was dark when I woke up. I saw a silhouette at the bedroom door, and then a second person appeared and eventually a third. I was taken aback. I rolled out of bed, and eventually said, ‘What’s going on?’ It was unreal for a while, and then I prepared myself for an onslaught.”

The intruders wore dark clothing, caps, gloves and had masks covering their faces.

“When I got up, the intruder at the door put their hands up to me to indicate I was to stay put and to stop me. Eventually there was some chatter and I could hear something like ‘where is everybody else?’. I said I was a single pensioner here. I stood there by the bed and the slightest of the three stood by the door like a shepherd. The other two had a look about and I heard muttering about drugs. I said ‘there are no drugs in this house and there never will be.”

The pensioner said the trio “cut their losses”, and fled out the back door with money that had been sitting on a dresser in an envelope.

“They either knew the back gate was open or had someone waiting for them,” said the man, who stressed: “At no time did they touch me.”

As soon as the trio left, the man phoned for help and said police were on scene “pretty sharp”.

“In hindsight, I think it was possibly a case of mistaken identify and they had the wrong house. At no time could I identify them,” he said.

The man said he’s just glad what happened didn’t happen to someone else and hopes it doesn’t happen again to anyone.He said the incident will not force him from the house he has called home for eight years.

Detective Sergeant Brian Reid said it’s believed entry was gained by forcing the door.

“Thankfully the elderly gentleman was not injured in the incident but was left badly shaken,” said Sgt. Reid.

SDLP Councillor Gerry Mullan said the attack was “shameful”.

“This is a sickening and despicable act on an elderly member of our community. It is absolutely shameful and I would urge anyone who saw anything suspicious or who knows who is behind this to contact police immediately.”

Police want anyone with information, or anyone who saw or heard any suspicious activity around the area around this time on Thursday evening to contact detectives in Limavdy on the non-emergency number 101 or if someone would like to pass information without giving their details they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.