Ipswich: 84-year-old burgled three times scares off latest culprit

84 year old Kenneth Toye who scared off a burglar in his Ipswich home and has since written a poem a

84 year old Kenneth Toye who scared off a burglar in his Ipswich home and has since written a poem about his experience. - Credit: Lucy taylor

An 84-year-old former Ipswich restaurant owner has told of the moment he confronted a burglar in his home - and forced him to flee.

Ken Toye, who ran The Singing Chef for 19 years before it closed in 2000, described the intruder who invaded his east Ipswich home on Monday as “a shadow, a real phantom”.

Mr Toye, whose wife passed away a number of years ago, was working upstairs when the burglar came through the kitchen door.

“I was working upstairs on the computer and suddenly realised it had become dark so I thought I’d go downstairs to make a cup of tea,” he said.

“There were no lights switched on so I went down the stairs and went along the hall and was just going to switch on the light when I suddenly noticed there was a dark figure with a torch. The torch beam was the first thing I saw.”

At first he was perplexed by the torch light: “I was thinking ‘why should that figure be there?’ And I thought ‘is it my grandson or a member of the family?’ Then I twigged.”

However Mr Toye soon realised what was going on and went for the burglar.

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“There was a moment when we both froze. I dashed forward and the figure just disappeared through the kitchen door. I then gathered my senses and went out as well. I can’t walk very fast because I’m disabled and I looked down the street but he was gone.”

Unfortunately the former chef and teacher had left his wallet on the kitchen table, and when he checked it he noticed that £15 had been stolen.

Mr Toye’s daughter now lives with him in his home since 1982, and this is the third time he’s been burgled in recent years.

It first happened 18 months ago, before happening again a year ago.

Mr Toye described his complex reaction to the burglary: “Firstly it’s a feeling of anger, why should this person come in to my home? What a cheek!”

However this wasn’t the only feeling. “Being something of a philosopher and poet I felt there’s a fellow human being in my kitchen and I never got to know him,” he said.