Elderly targeted in doorstep burglary bid
Two frail Londonderry pensioners have been left shaken after they were targeted by three youths trying to trick their way into their home.
Lily Simpson (71) has lived in the Galliagh area with her partner Brian O'Rourke for more than 20 years.
But they now feel so vulnerable in their home there are times when they sleep in their clothes.
Last weekend, a youth knocked at the couple's back door and walked into the kitchen while at the same time two other youths knocked repeatedly at their front door.
Lily was fearful the youths were trying to distract her so that they could rob her. She managed to raise the alarm with one of her neighbours - prompting the youths to run off.
Ms Simpson said she wanted to highlight the dangers to other vulnerable people.
She said: "I couldn't believe it when this boy knocked at my kitchen door then opened it and walked right in. I was in the kitchen and asked him to leave right away, but he didn't go.
"He asked me if I wanted my grass cut but I kept saying I didn't and asked him to go.
"At the same time two other boys were banging at the front door. It was really scary, my heart was jumping because I thought they were all going to come in and rob us or hurt us.
"I was robbed three months ago after a boy came into the house and reached for my handbag. I thought the door was locked, but my partner Brian has been a bit forgetful since he had a stroke and the door was left open.
"This boy came in and grabbed my bag, took all the money out of my purse, then threw the bag into the garden and ran away.
"Since then we are so scared there are nights when I won't even change into my nightdress in case someone comes to the house. Thank God I have good neighbours and I rang them and they came straight away to make sure we were all right."
The youths ran off after Ms Simpson called her neighbours, who responded immediately and tried to chase them.
They also contacted local councillor Warren Robinson, who has arranged a home security visit for the elderly couple.
He said: "Thanks to the fast actions of Lily and Brian's neighbour, what could have been a very nasty incident was prevented. They alerted me to what happened and I have arranged to have additional locks placed on the doors and I have arranged a home security visit for them.
"Incidents like this demonstrate the importance of looking out for our elderly and vulnerable residents.
"We are coming into the summer holidays and unfortunately this is a time when so many older people feel frightened in their own homes, so anything that can be done to make them feel safer is welcomed."