88-year-old pensioner targeted in house break in

Foreglen pensioner Mary Millar looking through her belongings after a break in this week.  (1305JB130) pic. Joe Boland
Foreglen pensioner Mary Millar looking through her belongings after a break in this week. (1305JB130) pic. Joe Boland

An 88-year-old Foreglen woman has been left badly shaken after thieves targeted her home and ransacked it.

The break in at Mary Millar’s Columbia Park home happened on Wednesday night. Fortunately, the pensioner had nipped out for about 40 minutes to a neighbour’s house when the burglars struck, but the incident has left her scared and nervous.

“If I had of been home it would have been much worse,” she said, yesterday.

The well known and respected pensioner explained she had visited a relative, just yards from her own home at around 7.40pm.

“I stayed there until 20 past, half eight. When I came back I saw the keyhole in the back door was bent and I thought, ‘I wonder how that happened?’. I went to reach for the handle and the door just opened. The place was a mess. I didn’t know where to turn.”

Fearful the burglars were still inside, Mary rushed to a neighbour. He called the police, who were on scene quickly.

“The house was a mess. All my things were everywhere. All the cabinets were emptied and turned upside down.”

Mary was forced to stay with her niece as police examined the scene through the night and into yesterday afternoon. Just after 2pm, yesterday, Mary was allowed back into her bungalow.

In her bedroom, with all her belongings strewn around the room, she didn’t think those who broke in had fled with much.

“Nothing seems to be broken and I think they got away with £20. It is all very unpleasant and awkward feeling and I feel scared. I just hope the police catch the people who did this so they don’t do it again to someone like me who lives on their own.”

Sinn Fein councillor, Tony McCaul was “disgusted” at what happened.

“This is a very close knit community and everyone is shocked such a thing could happen to one of our respected elderly citizens,” he said.

“Rarely is there ever any crime in this village and people can’t believe it happened. Just a couple of weeks ago we all attended a community safety event, but never did we think it would happen on our own doorstep. I just hope anyone who has any information will give it to the relevant authorities to catch whoever did this. To think they would target our vulnerable citizens is digusting.”

Police are also appealing for information about an attempt to burgle a house on the Drumrane Road around 8.45pm, also on Wednesday night. Two males made off in a green Nissan Almera. Two females, aged 13 and 30, were arrested at the scene and released pending further enquiries.

Police are keen to trace the whereabouts of the car and want anyone with information to call 0845 600 8000 or ‘Crimestoppers’ on freephone 0800 555 111.