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Community rallies around to help elderly woman who was burgled

PUBLISHED: 16:58 22 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:39 23 July 2018

Eileen Brown has been the victim of a distraction burglary.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Eileen Brown has been the victim of a distraction burglary. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

An elderly woman burgled in her own home has been overwhelmed after seeing an extraordinary community campaign to rally to her aid.

Eileen Brown with her neighbour Brenda Fosdick after she was the victim of a distraction burglary.
Picture: Nick ButcherEileen Brown with her neighbour Brenda Fosdick after she was the victim of a distraction burglary. Picture: Nick Butcher

Eileen Brown, 88, who has lived on her own in Hethersett for 30 years, has been showered with well wishing messages, cards and gifts from shocked villagers.

As news of the theft spread it prompted a social media campaign that was inundated with hundreds of messages many offering to help.

Mrs Brown, who has lived in the same house for 60 years, said: “I can’t believe the cards and flowers and money that people have sent.

“Years ago I used to be involved in lots of things in the village, jumble sales and helping people out, so if this had happened to someone else I would have done the same. But I don’t go anywhere nowadays. I’ve lived here on my own for 30 years.

“People have been so kind. It has been overwhelming.”

The elderly widow was targeted by a man who claimed he had been sent from the council to test the taps before stealing over £500 from her handbag on July 19.

Eileen Brown has been the victim of a distraction burglary.
Picture: Nick ButcherEileen Brown has been the victim of a distraction burglary. Picture: Nick Butcher

She said: “I went up the garden to feed the birds and I heard a man’s voice. He came to meet me as I walked with my frame and said he had come to check the water. When he left I thought I better check my bag and the zip had been pulled down and I realised he had taken the money inside.”

Her neighbour and friend Brenda Frosdick, 76, said: “She rang me and just said ‘It’s Eileen, I’ve been robbed’. It was such a shock.

“I went straight around there and the police were here within 10 minutes. She was so upset. I will never forget her face, it was dreadful. She was crying and, of course, then I started to.

Eileen Brown has been the victim of a distraction burglary.
Picture: Nick ButcherEileen Brown has been the victim of a distraction burglary. Picture: Nick Butcher

“She has lived here for 60 years and she is like a mum really. We get on well together and we do what we can for her.”

John Frosdick, 74, added: “They are scumbags who would do something like this. I’ve known her a long time. I was a young boy when she moved in next door. Money can be replaced but thank goodness he didn’t hurt her.”

Since the burglary Mrs Brown, whose husband died 40 years ago and her son, Philip, two years ago, has been showered with support.

Some of the hundreds of Facebook messages of support sparked by Eileen's story. Picture: FacebookSome of the hundreds of Facebook messages of support sparked by Eileen's story. Picture: Facebook

“There has been a lovely response,” said Mrs Frosdick. “There were cards and notes saying I hope this will help. She has had a bag full of groceries, bunches of flowers, a box of biscuits and some people have sent her money as well. She said I can’t accept that, but I said it is people wanting to help.”

The thief is described as white, aged between 45 and 50, under 6ft tall, with dark hair and stubble. He was wearing a dark blue short sleeved shirt, dark coloured trousers and shoes.

• Anyone with information or who may have seen any suspicious activity should contact police on 101 quoting CAD 233 of July 19.

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