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Woman shocked by police break-in

PUBLISHED: 18:09 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:47 03 July 2010

DAMAGE: Beryl Pike with the hinges from her back door after police forced entry into her Coast Road home in Hopton

DAMAGE: Beryl Pike with the hinges from her back door after police forced entry into her Coast Road home in Hopton

PENSIONER Beryl Pike got a shock when she returned from a trip to Norwich to find there had been a break-in at her Hopton home.

But the culprits weren't burglars- the forced entry at the bungalow in Coast Road had been perpetrated by police officers trying to track down the 76-year-old after her sister raised concerns about her whereabouts.

PENSIONER Beryl Pike got a shock when she returned from a trip to Norwich to find there had been a break-in at her Hopton home.

But the culprits weren't burglars- the forced entry at the bungalow in Coast Road had been perpetrated by police officers trying to track down the 76-year-old after her sister raised concerns about her whereabouts.

Miss Pike said her sister June Oakes, 78, who lives in Reading, had been unable to contact her by phone had called the police to her home.

But when the officers got no response, and neither neighbours nor staff at the James Paget Hospital had seen her they asked June's permission to enter the property, breaking in through the back gate and taking the back door completely off its hinges.

By the time Miss Pike returned home she found police sitting in her kitchen and her back door nailed steadfastly shut.

She said: “I felt ill when I walked through the door and saw the police in my kitchen. How would you feel, terrific? I thought, what is going on?”

The former Edward Worlledge School pupil in Great Yarmouth, who used to work in merchant banking, said her sister had become worried because she knew she had been suffering with flu.

Miss Pike added her sister should have known that she often failed to answer her mobile phone because she had poor hearing.

As well as the damage to her door, she said the police also scratched her walls and the front of her washing machine and wanted compensation, although her sister was going to pay for the door to be replaced.

She could not understand why the police had not broken in by smashing one of the windows, which would have cost less to replace.

She added vandals had targeted her home in the past and feared for her security with a back door held in place by screws.

“I have not slept since it happened. I think it is shock, anyone can walk in now. I am afraid to go out because I fear for what I might find when I come back home,” Miss Pike said.

She has lived at her current home for nine years, having moved from Reading, but grew up in Yarmouth with her mother Dot Pike and father Bill, who worked for the Admiralty.

She has never married and does not have any children, although the former Leeds University student has a brother David who lives in nearby Belton.

Police spokesman Jon Ford said officers were called to the bungalow at 2.05pm after receiving a report of a missing woman in her 70s who lived at the address.

He added various inquiries were made as to the whereabouts of the woman, but after failing to find her the police got permission from a relative to force entry to the property by removing the door.

“In these situations police will explore every suitable avenue before making a forced entry with each scenario judged on its own merits.

“On this occasion, concern was expressed for the woman's wellbeing and, while it must have been distressing for her, police had a duty to establish the woman's welfare and whereabouts.

“Police have since returned to the property to explain the situation to her and discuss the issues. Norfolk Constabulary puts people at the heart of everything we do and we strive to ensure we provide the public with a first class service every time,” Mr Ford said.


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