I knew flood defence work would let burglars raid me

Trees at Susan Black's Bonnington home were cut down
Trees at Susan Black's Bonnington home were cut down
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A MUM who warned contractors for more than 18 months that flood prevention works had left her vulnerable to being burgled is counting the cost after her home was raided.

Finance worker Susan Black returned to her Bonnington property to find a thief had climbed into her garden before smashing a window and escaping with thousands of pounds’ worth of possessions.

A laptop, an XBox and a Wii, about 90 games, three phones and silver jewellery were all stolen in the break-in last week.

Ms Black, whose house backs onto the Water of Leith, has blamed the city council, claiming she had felt unsafe ever since trees and bushes surrounding her property were cut down as part of the flood defence works.

The 47-year-old first complained to the council in April 2011, exchanging emails and phones calls with the authority and its contractor.

She said workers replaced her existing boundary wall running along the side and rear of her property with an inferior structure just 3ft high.

“Anybody walking down the path or on the other side of the river just had a great view of my house,” said Ms Black. “They offered me a trellis fence that goes on top of the wall, but the idea of that is my rose bushes will eventually grow back over that and I’ll get the same protection as before.

“It was really easy to climb on the wall, walk along and then just hop over into my garden. I said ‘I feel like a sitting duck’. It was really open. I felt it was perfect for thieves or anyone to just hop over the wall and that’s exactly what happened.”

Single mum Ms Black said she and her eight-year-old son were now living in fear after the thief struck between 2.30pm on January 26 and 5pm the following day.

Lothian and Borders Police confirmed they had attended Ms Black’s address, but would not provide further details.

Neighbours are understood to have also complained to the council about the impact of the flood defence works.

The measures are part of the Water of Leith Flood Prevention Scheme, which was introduced in the wake of
Edinburgh’s worst floods in 80 years.

Three walls along the Water of Leith collapsed at Stockbridge, Bonnington and Canonmills during the floods in April 2000.

City environment convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “I am very sorry to hear that Ms Black’s house has been burgled. Every effort was made to make the area as secure as possible while essential flood prevention work is carried out.

“A new wall was constructed behind her property in order to provide a more effective defence against flooding and unfortunately it appears that the perpetrator climbed through the secured worksite and over this wall to access her garden.

“We will raise this matter with our contractor and investigate to see if any further security measures can be taken.”