Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

OAP couple traumatised by botched drugs raid by police

Two pensioners were left traumatised after their house was mistakenly targeted in a botched drugs raid by police.

Graeme McCusker (47) has called on the PSNI to explain how officers, understood to be carrying out a drugs-related house search, mistook his elderly parents’ Lurgan home for another house in the same development.

Ronald (74) and Irene (75) McCusker attended their GP hours after the incident last Thursday, which has been reported to the Police Ombudsman.

The PSNI has apologised by writing to the couple, who are too upset to speak about their ordeal.

However, their son has called on the officers involved to explain how such a “basic mistake” was made.

He said his father was in the back garden of their home when he heard a crash at around 10am.

That noise was the front door being forced open by police officers with a battering ram. When the 74-year-old came into the hallway he was confronted by six police officers who quickly realised they had the wrong address.

Graeme — who first spoke to the BBC’s Nolan Show — told the Belfast Telegraph: “My father was bewildered.

“What concerned me was that when he rang me he was crying and I have never heard him cry before,” he explained.

He added: “When my mother arrived back and saw what had happened she had a panic attack. She was hyperventilating.”

Police officers immediately apologised to the McCusker family.

But the apology has not gone far enough for Graeme.

“All they (police) could say was that it was human error. I would like them explain how this happened,” he said.

“My parents feel as if they have been singled out.

“They know no one will draw the wrong conclusions, but it’s the embarrassment of having the attention drawn to themselves.”

In a statement a PSNI spokeswoman said: “Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Wright has spoken with the family... and written a letter of apology.

“We acknowledge our mistake in this instance and have offered to confirm this with the surrounding neighbours, although this offer was rejected.

“We can only again reiterate our sincere apologies to the family and assure them that they are in no way a subject of any investigation.”

The statement added: “If the Police Service of Northern Ireland enter a house unlawfully, we will pay for any damages caused.”

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