Newport community rallies round 89-year-old robbery victim

A COMMUNITY has pulled together in a bid to catch two “callous” criminals who robbed a pensioner in his own home.

The possibility of putting up a reward to capture the perpetrators of the “shocking” crime was raised by both the Newport Business Association and parish council.

The man, an 89-year-old, was attacked at his house in Gaces Acre at around 6.10pm on January 31.

Two unidentified men knocked on the door of the property and when the pensioner answered it, they pushed past him and entered his home.

One man held the pensioner down on his bed, while the other stole �500 in cash from a wallet in the man’s coat.

Essex Police said the victim was badly shaken but suffered no visible injuries.

The suspects were both described as white men, wearing dark clothing.

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Insp Kevin Wakefield said: “This type of callous crime is very rare in Uttlesford district, and has no place in our society.

“I would strongly urge anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour in the area during the time in question or who has information about the criminals responsible for this robbery to contact us.”

While some members of the community were keen to offer a reward to catch the robbers and chairman of the Uttlesford Neighbourhood Watch Steering Group, Alan Johnson said it was heartening to see the community working together, he added that it was unsutainable.

“The idea of a reward is an excellent and caring response,” he said. “Unfortunately I do not think it is sustainable.

“Neighbourhood Watch works closely with the parish council and Newport has 25 co-ordinators covering the entire village.

“But it is up to the police to catch the suspects in this sinister crime. Our job is to reassure people that although they live in a low crime area it is important to be vigilant, take sensible precautions and be aware that there is advice and support available to them.”

Peter Caulfield, crime reduction advisor for Uttlesford, said: “Neighbourhood Watch is very active in Newport, and we have made the local community aware of this distressing crime.

“Neighbourhood policing officers will be patrolling the area regularly, and residents are welcome to speak to them for crime prevention advice.

“They are also most welcome to contact me directly at Saffron Walden police station by calling 101.”

He added: “I would advise residents to use a door chain or door bar when opening their door to an unexpected caller.

“It takes seconds to use one, and it will alert an opportunist thief that your awareness of security is high. Faced with one of these devices, thieves will usually make their excuses and move on.”

? Anyone with information about this crime should contact CID at Chelmsford, where the investigating officer is Dc Andrews, on 101, or to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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