Disabled man helpless as thieves raid home

The man's house was broken into. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The man's house was broken into. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A WHEELCHAIR-BOUND man has described the moment he lay helpless in bed as thieves ransacked his home.

The victim, from Penicuik, was left traumatised after the burglars made off with his laptop, mobile phone, wallet and a sum of money.

The 62-year-old, who asked not to be named for fear of repercussions, said he felt violated by the incident.

He fears the thieves have been targeting the complex where he lives because the majority of residents are older with health issues.

An elderly couple fell prey to thieves in recent days also in the same complex. Now police are investigating whether the two incidents are linked.

The victim said: “They are lowlifes who are picking on people that can’t really defend themselves. Most of the people who stay in this estate are disabled in some form. I think they think it’s easy pickings. I am so frustrated.”

The disabled man, who has a daytime carer, was woken on Monday night by noises which he initially thought were coming from his radiators.

He said: “But then I thought, don’t tell me there’s someone in the house. I couldn’t see. I told myself to go to sleep, and then I heard a loud noise.”

Unable to move from his bed, the man heard the intruders leave but it was only when his carer arrived in the morning that he discovered what had been taken.

It transpired his kitchen window was not securely locked – and the opportunist thieves had managed to climb in.

They didn’t damage anything but the fact intruders came into his home when he was in bed has caused a great deal of trauma to the man.

He added: “It’s just horrible to think that people were in my house, that they were in my space, helping themselves to my stuff.”

The incidents happened as police continue to crack down on domestic break-ins in the city following a spate earlier this year. There have been several reports of thieves from Edinburgh travelling outside the city to Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian to target new victims.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police in Midlothian are investigating two apparently similar crimes in Vaucluse Place, Penicuik, and are carrying out further inquiries to establish if the incidents are linked. A house in the street was broken into between Monday, August 3 and Wednesday, August 5.

“A burglary occurred in another property overnight between Monday, August 10 and Tuesday 11.

“Officers are asking residents to be vigilant and to contact police if they have information relating to either of these incidents.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The Blackwood Housing Association complex, where the disabled man lives, has a variety of properties designed for wheelchair users and people with other mobility problems.

A spokesman for the group said: “We are fully aware of the situation which has taken place over the last week and the matter is now being dealt with between Police Scotland and our tenants.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com