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Dunkirk hero won't be defeated

PUBLISHED: 18:01 11 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:19 03 March 2010

GUTSY Dunkirk veteran Cyril Page was blown off his feet twice in battle - but he's needed all his fighting spirit for the past 30 years too.

For his bungalow in Bantoft Terrace, Ipswich, has been the target of vandals ever since he and his late wife Violet moved in nearly three decades ago.

GUTSY Dunkirk veteran Cyril Page was blown off his feet twice in battle - but he's needed all his fighting spirit for the past 30 years too.

For his bungalow in Bantoft Terrace, Ipswich, has been the target of vandals ever since he and his late wife Violet moved in nearly three decades ago.

But at the grand old age of 83, feisty Mr Page is today still smiling instead of moaning, and remains determined not to let a catalogue of abuse and vandalism get him down.

Twice in four days his home was targeted by yobs.

The first time he returned home to see two windows of his campervan had been smashed.

Then last Tuesday he came home to find police assessing yet more damage.

Burglars had lifted a heavy steel gate -installed after a previous break-in - off its hinges, forced open a wooden gate, and then broke in through the double-locked door of an extension which Mr Page built last summer.

Once inside the pensioner's home, the criminals headed straight for his stash of whisky - received from his family as Christmas presents, and also made off with his video recorder and a Spanish air gun.

Police said the video and a smashed bottle of whisky were later found in the road nearby.

Today Mr Page remains defiant rather than frightened and he valiantly pledged to re-hang the gates and fix more wire over a cat flap in the back door. He has also moved his van away to a safer place.

But so far his homemade barricades have failed to stop the thugs who target him.

He said: "I don't think it can have been kids this time because the steel gate must weigh two hundredweight.

"It's not the things they took, but they invaded my private home, and I'm more worried that the air gun will fall into the wrong hands."

He doesn't believe he is being targeted personally, but more because the bungalow is near the end of the lane and has a secluded garden.

He revealed he was in the Army just before the Second World War and saw battle at Dunkirk.

He said: "I worked as a driver for the Royal Army Service Corps delivering shells to the guns and then joined the Army still as a driver.

"I was blown off my feet twice on the battlefield at Dunkirk - I saw the bombs raining down towards me."

"I am not frightened about the vandalism. I am angry at what happened this week, and I was a bit upset, and I can't say what I would do if I caught them. But what's the use in crying over something that's already happened?"

The latest crime against Mr Page is believed to have happened between 11am and 12.20pm on Tuesday.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Detective Constable Soraya Francis at Ipswich CID on 01473 383113.

The news comes less than a week after burglars duped their way in and made off with savings from Ipswich pensioners Grace and Harry Talbott despite the fact they had turned their house into a fortress.

The Talbotts, aged 84 and 82, who were also burgled last September, had been watching television at around 8.05pm on Tuesday when they were disturbed by repeated ringing on their doorbell in the Bramford Lane area.

Brave pensioner Winifred Bucknall, who had her shopping bag snatched by callous thieves in Felixstowe at about 1.30pm on Tuesday, also warned other shoppers to be on their guard.

Meanwhile Suffolk police have called for extra vigilance in the west of the county after a spate of recent incidents involving bogus callers.

Elsewhere at the other end of the age scale the man who stood on a 11-year-old's ankles during an attempted robbery in Hadleigh is still being hunted today by detectives.

Residents who live near where the attacker struck today warned others that there is no guarantee of safety anywhere these days.

James Stannard, 61, who lives in Station Road said: "You think it is safe but it not safe enough. There should be far more severe penalties for these things."

A 35-year-old parent of children aged four and seven, who lives in Clopton Gardens, added: " Parents tell children all the time about being on the look out because it is so dangerous. Round here it is fine but I am obviously quite shocked to hear about this incident. It is worrying. I have two young children and only live round the corner from where it happened."

The incident happened when the boy was approached by a man in Station Road near the junction with Clopton Gardens around 4pm on Wednesday.

When the man asked for money the boy said he didn't have any and the man picked him up and pushed him against a signpost.

The victim dropped to the ground and the man then stood on his ankles, before walking off in the direction of Old Railway Walk.

The offender was white, of medium build, 5ft 8ins to 6ft tall. He wore a dark hooded top with the hood pulled up and khaki combat trousers. He had facial hair around his mouth and chin, which could have been a goatee beard.

Cyril's catalogue of vandalism:

1974-2002:

House broken into and burgled -whiskey, video and air rifle stolen.

Campervan windows smashed.

Brick through greenhouse windows.

House broken into while he slept and fridge, freezer and toilet swung out of place.

Shot at through hedge with air gun when standing in front doorway.

Garden ornaments smashed.

Back door glass smashed.

Chickens set free in back garden.

Former lodger's car windows smashed.

Asbestos from derelict garaged thrown over fence at wheelchair-bound wife Violet.

Last June his neighbour had a 40ft fence stolen.

Campervan driven down road and wires pulled out of dashboard, and house keys stolen.

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