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Lock up all vile thugs who prey on our elderly

Once again the matter of attacks on the elderly is hitting the headlines. This is because of the death of 72-year-old Bertie Acheson after he confronted a thug who burgled his home.

Mr Acheson, his family and friends are the innocent victims of cowards who purposely target the most vulnerable in our society.

The PSNI has a poor record of clearance in these crimes and, as a result, the thugs go unpunished; and the public are frustrated by the lack of convictions.

Given how these despicable crimes are committed, there seems little chance of an improvement in the police getting the thugs into court - they know the likelihood of being caught stands in their favour.

However, when the police are successful, society is demanding tougher sentences for those who search out defenceless victims. The only deterrent society then has is to increase the length of sentences and not to apply bail conditions.

Like other attacks against pensioners, Mr Acheson's case will disappear from the headlines. The legacy of this case, however, should be society's determination that those who commit such vile crimes should not enjoy their freedom for a very, very long time.

CLLR ADAM NEWTON (DUP)

Belfast City Council

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