Uttlesford councillor thwarts burglary attempt

Uttlesford councillor Joe Rich and parish councillor Samantha Dunn.

Uttlesford councillor Joe Rich and parish councillor Samantha Dunn. - Credit: Archant

A councillor became a village hero as he confronted three men suspected of trying to break into a neighbour’s house.

Joe Rich, of Brewery Lane, Stansted Mountfitchet, was woken at about 11.40pm on Friday night by noises and activity from outside a house opposite his home.

The Uttlesford district councillor told the Broadcast: “I was lying in bed, I had my bedroom window open and I heard some whispering and funny noises.”

Cllr Rich, a 48-year-old father of three, went outside to investigate.

“As I walked towards the end of my garden, I saw several men around my neighbour’s front door,” he said. “Suddenly there was the noise of smashing glass from my neighbour’s house.”

At this point, Cllr Rich decided to challenge the suspects.

“I said to the men, ‘can I help you?’ At this point they ran off.”

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Nearby, in The Mews, off High Lane, parish councillor Samantha Dunn, 35, also heard the activity on Brewery Lane.

She said: “After hearing all the noise, I went outside to find out what was going on.

“I saw two men walking towards me, taking their tops off and throwing them in a bush. I started walking away, but one of them continued to follow me, possibly to find somewhere to hide. I was incredibly scared.”

Both councillors called the police.

Cllr Rich said: “Essex Police were absolutely fantastic and arrived within two minutes. I can’t believe how quickly they got here. Instead of being a harrowing experience, it’s actually made me feel safer, knowing that the police are there.”

Cllr Dunn added: “After the spate of burglaries that we had in Stansted last year, it’s good to know that the police are patrolling the area.”

Cllr Rich said his neighbour, who was on holiday at the time, was incredibly grateful for his intervention. “My neighbour very naughtily bought me a bottle of champagne, but it really wasn’t necessary,” he added.

Three men were arrested on suspicion of attempted burglary on September 12. Police said they were bailed until Nove-mber 7 pending further enquiries.