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Get tough on thugs who prey on elderly

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 09/08/2016

Ruth Pollock
Ruth Pollock

You will find couples like Ruth and Chris Pollock all over Northern Ireland. God-fearing people in their 70s, they live in an isolated home and spend their days working their farm.

They are the sort of people commonly referred to as the salt of the earth, hard-working and independent.

Sadly, they are also the sort of people that vicious thugs earmark as targets for robbery.

There is a common perception that elderly people are more inclined to keep significant sums of money in their homes and, of course, young fit men feel that these are the sort of people they can easily overpower during a robbery.

It is the most cowardly type of crime and while not as common as would sometimes appear from the publicity such robberies generate, it still happens far too often.

In this case, as happens frequently, the robbers assaulted the couple quite viciously before stealing their money. This must have been an horrific ordeal for Mr and Mrs Pollock as they were dragged from their bed in the early hours of the morning by two men carrying what appeared to be real firearms.

It is little wonder that Mr Pollock, who bravely tried to fight back against his assailants, later suffered a heart attack as a result of his experience. The robbers were so intent on getting their hands on some money that they did not care what happened to the couple they left tied up.

Fortunately Mrs Pollock was able to free herself and then her husband and raise the alarm. If she had been unable to do so the consequences could have been much worse, particularly for her husband.

Understandably, local politicians have reacted angrily to this offence and there may be some merit in the call by Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann for much tougher sentences for those who carry out such crimes against the elderly.

As has been noted, robbers often deliberately target the elderly and, knowing that they will encounter less opposition, then proceed to assault them quite seriously. For someone in the later years of their life to suffer both the mental and physical trauma of a robbery, often late at night and often by men apparently armed, is a horrendous experience which can lead to further health complications.

In the meantime, anyone with any information about this robbery should give it to the PSNI so that these thugs can be apprehended and brought before the courts.

Belfast Telegraph

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