A gang of teenagers have become unlikely heroes after helping police catch a man suspected of a series of burglaries in east Belfast.
Three houses, including two occupied by pensioners, were raided on Saturday evening with mostly jewellery taken in the Glentoran Place area off the Ravenhill Road.
A man whose home was targeted told the Belfast Telegraph he managed to scare off the would-be burglar before calling police.
“I dialled 999 as soon as it happened. When the police arrived they came in and took a statement, but when they realised one of the burglars was still in the area they ran off like a shot.
“The man was climbing down the back of the house and ran. This area has a lot of cul-de-sacs and is hard to find your way round, but the kids said to the police, ‘Come with us, we’ll help you’, and they led the police to catch him. Then the kids climbed over the wall of the house where the man had come down and found two bags containing jewellery and watches, which they gave to the police.
“They were absolutely fantastic. The police were great too, I couldn’t fault them.”
He said the youngsters came around all the houses the next day to see if everyone was okay.
“It is just not what you expect when you see kids hanging around street corners but I am glad they were looking out for the community, they were brilliant,” he said.
Police arrested a 30-year-old man at the scene. He was charged with three counts of burglary and going equipped and will appear in Belfast Magistrates Court this morning.
However, less than a mile away at Titania Street, an 84-year-old woman was left terrified after two men broke into her home and forced her into a chair.
It was just yards from where 82-year-old have-a-go hero Maisie Chapman fought off a burglar with a brush last November.
But in this most recent incident, the elderly woman was kept in a chair while the men stole money. She was unhurt but badly shaken.
Meanwhile, a 16-year-old male will appear in court in February after he was charged with burglary and attempted burglary after robberies at homes in Ballyhackamore on Saturday night.