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Anger after elderly Bangor couple are robbed by gang of four

By Joanne Fleming

Published 14/09/2015

East Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton
East Belfast DUP MLA Robin Newton

The family of an elderly couple targeted by a gang of four masked men have condemned their attackers.

The couple, both in their 80s, were in their Rathgill estate home in Bangor on Friday when the men broke in through the back door at around 9pm.

It is understood they were looking for drugs and targeted the wrong house. Pension money of around £400 was missing following the break-in.

A relative of the couple, who asked not to be named, said they had been left shaken.

"They have lived in that estate for just over 30 years and had literally just moved to another part of the estate," he said.

"They were very happy, they have good neighbours and this has knocked their confidence in an area they felt really safe in."

The elderly woman, who sometimes has to use a wheelchair, is looked after by her husband, who also has walking difficulties. Carers arriving to help the woman into bed on Friday evening narrowly missed the gang running from the scene.

A pane of glass had been removed from the back door and it is understood keys were removed from the door to gain entry.

"They seemed to be implying there was someone there dealing drugs," the relative said of the gang. "They clearly had the wrong house. They kept him [the elderly man] in the hall while others searched the property.

"They didn't have any weapons, you don't need weapons when it comes to elderly people, but it was very intimidating with these boys in their masks.

"They seem a bit better now but they are still obviously wary. This has been very shocking. The neighbours and everyone else is very annoyed."

Soon afterwards in east Belfast a man in his 70s was also targeted by four masked men. They broke into his house at Dunraven Avenue at around 10.15pm. Two stayed with the man while the other two searched the house. The gang left soon after without taking anything.

Police have not yet established a link between the incidents and have appealed for anyone with any information to contact them.

East Belfast DUP MLA, Robin Newton, a member of the Policing Board, said of the Dunraven Avenue incident: "There can be no doubt this will cause concerns for all the older residents of the area.

"This fear of becoming a victim of crime causes older residents to lock themselves into their homes."

East Belfast Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle said: "There is no right-thinking person who will not be sickened by this incident."

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