Get tough call over thugs as elderly farmer faces heart procedure after Ballymoney home raid
Neighbours rallying round to help raid victim as husband who suffered coronary recovers
An elderly farmer who suffered a heart attack after he was badly beaten during a terrifying raid at his north Antrim home has been moved to another hospital to have a stent inserted.
Chris Pollock (78) was savagely assaulted when he bravely tried to fight back against two masked thugs who targeted his home at Lisnagat Road, Mosside, near Ballymoney.
Mr Pollock's wife Ruth told the Belfast Telegraph her husband had been moved from the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry for the procedure.
A stent helps keep the heart's arteries open to reduce the chances of a coronary.
Mrs Pollock said: "We thought he might have been able to get home on Tuesday but he has now been moved to Altnagelvin for further tests and may also have to get a stent inserted.
"It is concerning, and I am praying that he makes a full recovery."
Mrs Pollock suffered serious bruising to her arms after being tied up during the ordeal early on Monday morning when she and her husband were bundled out of their bed.
The couple were frog-marched to their living room where they were tied up as thieves demanded to know where they kept their money.
The house was ransacked and the evil raiders, who claimed to be "from the IRA", even threatened to burn a Bible belonging to the couple, who are regular gospel hall attendees. A spokeswoman for the Northern Health Trust confirmed yesterday that Mr Pollock had been moved to Altnagelvin and said he was in a "stable condition".
Mrs Pollock was released from hospital on Monday, and she praised the actions of neighbours, who have rallied round and have been helping out on the farm while her husband recovers in hospital.
"I couldn't ask for better neighbours, I have been heartened by the response," said Mrs Pollock.
"Neighbours have been helping out on the farm and I have also had people staying over with me the last few nights while Chris has been in hospital."
Yesterday morning one of them, Sandra Kilgore, was with Mrs Pollock in the farmhouse.
Ms Kilgore said: "Everybody in the area was really shocked by what happened to Chris and Ruth.
"Nothing like this has happened here and we all hope the police catch whoever did this as soon as possible.
"The community has rallied round and local farmers have been helping look after the farm for her, and people have been staying over to help ensure she feels safe."
There has been a huge swell of condemnation of the incident on social media.
Local politicians have also called for tougher sentences for people convicted of such crimes against the elderly.
North Antrim Assemblymen Robin Swann and Mervyn Storey are among those who have called for a tougher response against the thugs who target older people.
Mr Swann called on the Stormont Justice Minister Claire Sugden "to classify attacks on the elderly as hate crimes and to radically increase the punishments for those found guilty by the courts of such heinous attacks on older people".
Mr and Mrs Pollock were married in 1999.
They have lived in the farmhouse since.