Mystery over workmen in woman's home

A Beccles woman is furious after discovering that her home had been broken into while she was out. Neighbours claim that the culprits were not burglars but workers for Siemens Energy Services, although the company denies the allegations.

A Beccles woman is furious after discovering that her home had been broken into while she was out.

Neighbours claim that the culprits were not burglars but workers for Siemens Energy Services, although the company denies the allegations.

Mary Stolworthy, 55, who lives at Waveney Residential Park for the over-50s, says she was told by neighbours that two men from the company entered her mobile home while she was out. The two men told neighbours that there had been a power surge which had caused a fire risk, and reportedly climbed in through Mrs Stolworthy's window to look at her meter.

They left no written explanation of their visit, although she says there were muddy footprints on the carpet under the window and items left out of place. When she rang Siemens the company could find no record of the visit.

Electricity companies are allowed to enter homes with a warrant from a magistrate if they are empty or if they have been refused access, although they are supposed to give 24 hours' notice. Siemens, which has the contract to read meters for Powergen in East Anglia, denies that its staff entered the house.

Siemens spokesman Nicola Prior said that the story about a power surge was one they used so as not to give the real reason to neighbours.

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She said: "We confirm that the employee and contractor visited the property on October 13. They had a warrant, issued by a magistrate, to gain entry to another property in the neighbourhood.

"They knocked at the door of Mrs Stolworthy's home and called at an open window to try to make contact with the householder. They were unable to. They are both adamant that they did not, at any time, enter or try to enter the property.

"They asked a neighbour who approached them if the property matched the address they were looking for and when she told them it did not, they thanked her and left."

Next-door neighbour Derek Copeman is adamant that he saw the men inside the house.

He said: "They said that there had been a power surge, and it was possible that the house could catch fire. They said they had permission to enter, but they didn't show me a warrant. I saw them inside. They were there 10 minutes or more."

Joyce Bullen, who lives across the road from Mrs Stolworthy, said: "I saw them looking to get in the house, and they said 'it's alright, it's alright, we're allowed to do this.' Then I saw his legs hanging out of the window."

Mrs Stolworthy, who works at Country Cards in Beccles, said: "I just want an explanation or an apology. It's frightening. I can't help thinking, 'is it going to happen again?' I am not a criminal, no one has the right to enter my house without permission. I have had several sleepless nights over this, knowing that someone has entered my home without my knowledge."

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