Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Pensioner attacked and robbed in aggravated burglary

A Cullyhanna pensioner was assaulted and robbed by an armed gang who broke into his home on Tuesday evening last.

The victim, aged in his 60s, had been at the Post Office to collect his Christmas pension earlier in the day and was alone in his home on the Skerriff Road when a number of masked men forced their way into his bungalow shortly after 8.30pm.

The intruders, one of whom it’s believed was carrying a firearm, ransacked the house before assaulting the pensioner and locking him in his kitchen.  They made off with a sum of cash.  He remained locked in the kitchen overnight until his carer arrived as normal the following morning and raised the alarm.

The victim lives alone and is described as “extremely vulnerable” and perceived as having a learning disability.  Family members say the incident has left him shaken and fearful of staying on his own.

Police are carrying out an investigation and ask that anyone with any information about the incident, or who noticed any suspicious activity in the area, to contact detectives at Ardmore Police Station on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 567 of 14/12/16.

Condemning the burglary, Sinn Fein councillor Terry Hearty says there is “huge anger” within the community.

“The man had lifted his Christmas money at the local Post Office. Shortly after he returned home, thugs entered his home, assaulted him, took his money from his pockets, locked him in the kitchen and ransacked the house. What further compounded this cowardly attack was the fact that the victim would be viewed as extremely vulnerable. There is a huge anger within the community about this disgusting theft,” he said.

Appealing to the local community for help in bringing those responsible to justice, Councillor Hearty added: “Those engaged in these type of dreadful crimes, need to be apprehended and face the full rigours of the law.  I am only too willing to help catch these thugs who terrify, in particular, the most vulnerable members of our community, so people can feel free to contact myself if they do wish.”

Reporting the crime, online news website Armaghi set up a JustGiving page with the aim of raising £200 for the pensioner and in just a few hours, donations had well exceeded the target.  Many benefactors conveyed their feelings of disgust and anger at the incident and left messages of support and Christmas wishes for the victim.

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