New initiative to lock out burglars

BURGLARS will be locked out under a new initiative launched in Felixstowe to protect elderly and other vulnerable people in the homes.The Suffolk Coastal Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership has won £5000 funding from the Home Office to press ahead with the Homeshield scheme in homes across the district.

BURGLARS will be locked out under a new scheme in Felixstowe to protect elderly and other vulnerable people in their homes.

The Suffolk Coastal Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership has won £5,000 funding from the Home Office to press ahead with its Homeshield scheme.

The police, Neighbourhood Watch teams and Suffolk Coastal council have tried to identify people who are at high risk of having their home burgled.

A police crime reduction officer will visit to identify where locks, chains or spy-holes can be installed to make homes safer.

Patricia O'Brien, cabinet member for health and safety, said: "Burglaries are rare in our district, but they do happen. There is a very real fear among some parts of our community – even if their fears are not fully justified.

"This scheme will make their homes more secure and will hopefully make them feel much safer."

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June Cole, 62, was the first to benefit from the scheme. She said: "Although I've never had any problems with intruders, I was widowed 17 months ago and I have never felt secure without my husband. I turned to the police to see if I am doing the right things to protect myself."

As a result of their assessment she is having larger bolts fitted to her doors, security lighting fitted around her home and a door bar, which is the modern equivalent of a safety chain but more convenient to use.

Mrs Cole has also grown holly bushes in her garden in an attempt to put intruders off climbing the fences.

The equipment will be fitted free of charge by Help the Aged's HandyVan team or Suffolk Coastal's small repairs service, Helping Hand. Those most in need may qualify to receive the equipment free.

Scott Bentley, district council community safety officer, said: "This is a perfect example of partnership working with the different organisations coming together to tackle the issues of crime and disorder."

If any elderly or vulnerable person in the Suffolk Coastal district would like to find out more, they can contact Sally Scott at Suffolk Constabulary on 01473 383479.

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