Masked gang armed with pitchfork and pole inflict 'horrific ordeal' on trio near Donegal border


Three people were left shaken after being burgled by a masked gang armed with a pitchfork and metal pole on Tuesday in what's been described as a horrific ordeal by police.

The incident occurred close to the Donegal border near Aghyaran.

Two men, one in his sixties and another in his seventies, and one woman, were held under duress during the burglary.

The aggravated burglary occurred in Corgary Road area of Castlederg.

Detective Sergeant Jack said: "It was reported to us around 10.50 p.m. that three masked men entered the property earlier that evening, around 9:45pm, armed with a pitchfork and metal poles.

"There were three occupants in the house at the time - two men aged in their 60s and 70s - and a woman, also aged in her 60s.

"Both men were forced to lie down on the floor on their stomachs as one of the suspects stood over them with a metal pole.

"However, they managed to take the pole off the suspect who then fled along with the other two suspects. A sum of money and three mobile phones were reported stolen."

One of the victims was treated for injuries after what police said was a "horrific ordeal".

DS Jack said: "One of the male occupants sustained minor injuries to his leg and face and was treated at the scene.

“Two suspects are described as being of skinny build and one described of being of a heavy build.

“This must have been an horrific ordeal for the victims. This happened late last night in their home; somewhere they deserve to feel safe and they have understandably been left shaken.

"I want to appeal to anyone who was in the Corgary Road area last night and saw any suspicious activity; or any strange vehicles in the area, or who is offered mobile phones for sale in suspicious circumstances, to get in touch with detectives at Strand Road on the non emergency number 101, quoting reference number 1386 of 19/02/19."

Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.

Detective Sergeant Jack added: "We know when a person's home or property has been targeted it can be an extremely traumatising experience for victims and their families.

“I want to reassure the public we doing everything we can to identify criminals involved in this type of crime and bring them to justice, but we also need the public’s help so we are appealing to people to watch out for their neighbours. Please, report any suspicious activity you see in your area, whether it's a strange vehicle or people in the area.

"Every piece of information is vital as it could be the key to catching the perpetrators."

If you would like further advice on home security you can contact your local Crime Prevention Officer on 101.

Report any suspicious activity/concerns to 101 and in the case of an emergency please call 999.