Pensioner foils burglars

When a would-be thief walked uninvited into Dinky Payne's living room, he expected to find a frail and vulnerable 90-year-old great-grandmother. But he soon discovered he had chosen the wrong house, and the wrong feisty pensioner, to burgle.

When a would-be thief walked uninvited into Dinky Payne's living room, he expected to find a frail and vulnerable 90-year-old great-grandmother.

But he soon discovered he had chosen the wrong house, and the wrong feisty pensioner, to burgle.

In spite of her age and the difficulty she has walking, Mrs Payne used all her fighting spirit to make sure that two burglars were forced to leave her house in Bungay with nothing.

Hearing a knock on the back window of her house in Lower Olland Street, she thought the man had come to read the water meter, but the intruder walked into her living room and told Mrs Payne and her husband Sid, 91, to get outside.

She refused but the intruder would not leave and shouted at the couple to go out into the garden, even though Mr Payne can hardly walk.

Mrs Payne eventually realised the intruder was not going to leave without a fight. "I stood up out of my chair, grabbed my walking stick and shouted 'I've had enough of you, get out of my house,' and I shoved him in the chest to get him out of the door.

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"I was angry, not afraid. I don't suppose he expected me to fight back, and it seemed to scare him off," she said.

It was only when Mrs Payne's daughter Mary, who lives in Worlingham, arrived later that afternoon that she realised the man downstairs had been creating a distraction while a second burglar looked for valuables in her bedroom.

Drawers had been emptied on to the floor, and her clothes were strewn across the bed. It was then that she thought the burglars had got away with about £100 in cash - only to discover the next day that the money, in an envelope, was still there.

"I'm glad they got away with nothing," she said, "especially because at my age a lot of things have sentimental value.

"It's just not nice to think that a stranger has been in your house and gone through your things."

But Mrs Payne, who has raised almost £180,000 for local charities with her husband and was awarded the British Empire Medal in the 1980s for her tireless charity work, insisted she was not trying to be brave when she confronted the burglars. She said: "People have said I should've just done what they said and gone outside, but then who knows what they would've stolen. I won't have someone telling me what to do in my own home just because I'm old.

"People tried to steal things from our charity stall, so I've come across these nasty types of men before and they don't frighten me. I chased one chap across the road when he stole a jacket, and pulled him back by the scruff of the neck.

"That's just how I am, anyone who knows me will tell you - you don't want to mess with Dinky."

Police are keen to trace two men in connection with this burglary, who are described as white and in their 30s. One had fair hair, was about 5ft 9ins tall and was wearing a light grey pullover with a darker grey or navy checked pattern. The other was of similar height, with dark hair and was wearing a plum coloured pullover.

If anyone saw them in the Lower Olland Street area around 8.45-9am on July 31, saw them getting into a vehicle, or has any other information, they should contact DC Rob Brotherston on 01986 835300 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 511 111.

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