Neighbours aid burglary victim

PUBLISHED: 11:10 30 August 2007 | UPDATED: 21:48 29 May 2010

Kathy Irons with a letter from Doreen Sewell – Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Kathy Irons with a letter from Doreen Sewell - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

NEIGHBOURS of an elderly woman who fell victim to distraction burglars have rallied together to replace the money she had stolen. After hearing that Doreen Sewell, 83, of Abbey View, had fallen foul of thieves, last Monday, friends and neighbours througho

NEIGHBOURS of an elderly woman who fell victim to distraction burglars have rallied together to replace the money she had stolen.

After hearing that Doreen Sewell, 83, of Abbey View, had fallen foul of thieves, last Monday, friends and neighbours throughout Duton Hill got a collection together to replace the £143 pension money she had stolen.

"I am delighted beyond belief," said Mrs Sewell. "The people of Duton Hill are good people.

"I wasn't expecting to get the money back."

Neighbour and friend Kathy Irons explained what had happened: "It was at 4.30pm last Monday when there was a knock at the door.

"Doreen doesn't usually answer the door but thought the people were from the council because they were carrying folders.

"When she answered the door, a girl claiming to be Polish said she had to sell some of her artwork because she had no money. The girl asked her to look at them. Doreen felt sorry for her and gave her £1."

Unbeknown to Mrs Sewell, while she was being offered the sob-story, an accomplice had sneaked down the alleyway at the side of her house and gone into the house through the back garden and stolen money from her handbag.

It wasn't until an hour later that she realised the money had gone missing. Mrs Sewell said at first she doubted herself, thinking she had put it somewhere else.

"When I realised what had happened I felt sickened and frightened that someone had been in my home," said Mrs Sewell.

Mrs Irons said: "Doreen told me what had happened the next day and I decided to start a collection.

"The landlord at The Three Horseshoes, Derek Connell said we could put a box in the bar.

The Duton Hill Community Association also donated £100."

Six days later the tin, coupled with donations that had been handed to Mrs Irons totalled £210.

The separate donation from the DHCA brought the total up to £310.

On receiving the money on Monday, Mrs Sewell said she had been completely overwhelmed by people's generosity.

She is spending the extra money on a gate to make her back garden secure.

It is being fitted for free by Duton Hill-based builders Mark How Construction, the owner of which, being the partner of

Kathy Irons.

A police spokesman said: "I can confirm seven Polish people, most in their late teens, one in their 20s and one in their 40s, were arrested on August 22 on suspicion of carrying out a series of distraction burglaries.

"They were all were released without charge the next day.

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