Belfast Telegraph

Police 'owe Tyrone couple an apology over raid'

By Donna Deeney

The failure of police to immediately attend a burglary at the home of an elderly couple has been described as "unbelievable".

Pensioners Ivor and Winnie Lucas, both aged 72, arrived at their Sion Mills home in Co Tyrone on Sunday at around 7pm and realised their home had been burgled and ransacked while they were out at church.

Jewellery, including sentimental pieces, was taken from the house where the couple have lived for the past 25 years. Mr Lucas rang police and was told that no one would be out until the next day.

He said: "I did think they would have come out when we rang them but they told us it would be the following day and they did come then, but the officer didn't tell us why they couldn't come.

"There have been a few houses belonging to elderly people nearby where burglars broke into them when they were at home and they were beaten so at least that didn't happen to us, but it does leave you feeling very anxious all the same."

SDLP councillor Patsy Kelly said the police failed Mr and Mrs Lucas and they owed the couple an apology.

He said: "It is simply unbelievable that the PSNI would refuse to respond after such a reprehensible crime had occurred.

"If an officer is unavailable to visit the scene of a crime if even to reassure an elderly couple that they are safe in their home then we must re-evaluate the effectiveness of our policing service.

"Elderly people living in this general area already feel vulnerable after recent break-ins where the people were in their homes and were attacked by burglars, so the local police should be extra-sensitive to this instead of getting it so, so wrong and not coming out until the following day."

Inspector Jon Burrows said there were two burglaries in Sion Mills that night. He said: "In both incidents the people reporting the crimes were happy with the PSNI attending later on as they did not require police immediately.

"In both incidents police attended later in the morning, only several hours after the incidents were reported, to survey the scene and to offer crime-prevention advice."

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