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How did burglars get home keys?

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:46 07 July 2010

Richard Parr

Police and housing association officials are investigating how keys were taken from the office of a Dereham sheltered homes complex and then used to get into elderly residents' bungalows as they slept.

Police and housing association officials are investigating how keys were taken from the office of a Dereham sheltered homes complex and then used to get into elderly residents' bungalows as they slept.

The Times understands that burglars got into a bungalow to where the occupant had only returned from hospital earlier that day. And a relative of one resident is worried that the shock could have given someone a heart attack or worse if any of them had woken up to find intruders in their homes.

A meeting of residents of Albert Myhill Close was being held yesterday. Also attending were representatives of the landlords, Flag-ship Peddars Way, and police, who planned to reassure residents that patrols had been stepped up in the area.

Norfolk police have said sorry to one victim whose car and personal effects were stolen; officers had failed to tell her for a week that most of the stolen items had been recovered. A senior police officer has visited the woman, Gillian Pollock, who was staying with her 80-year-old mother at the complex, and has apologised for “failing to meet high standards of service for victims”.

A police statement said: “Errors were made, for which we have learned lessons for the future to lessen the likelihood of a repeat.” Norfolk Constabulary has described it as an exceptional case.

Miss Pollock said a senior officer from Norwich called to see her on Tuesday and apologised for what he said had been a breakdown in communications.

Scenes of crime officers failed to let the investigating officers know Miss Pollock's property and other items had been found in her car which was recovered.

It was left for staff at the Norwich garage where her badly-damaged vehicle was taken to tell her that her stolen goods had been recovered.

Miss Pollock says the way the incident has been handled by police was “unbelievable and farcical” and she is concerned the intruders were able to get access to the keys so easily.

She said in addition to the two bungalows burgled, three others were entered using the stolen keys which carried the numbers of the bungalows to which they

would give access.

She said other numbered keys were found on the grass at the complex.

She said she considered it very concerning that they keys were in such a visible place within the community/office part of the complex and carried the numbers of each bungalow they were for.

Managing director of Flagship Peddars Way, David Seaton stressed that it takes the safety and wellbeing of its residents very seriously.

“We are working alongside the police to carry out a full investigation into the incident. We are also moving forward with our own internal investigation.”

_ Police said a man was arrested on Monday in connection with the Albert Myhill Close incidents and was released on bail pending further inquiries.

Police said a man was arrested on Monday evening in connection with the Albert Myhill Close incidents and was released on bail pending further inquiries.


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