A WIDOW who fell victim to a walk-in burglar as she stood just yards away in her garden has backed a crime-fighting leaflet campaign.
Grandma Jessie Kelly, 85, had £70 stolen from a purse in her front room and £2 in 5p coins from her kitchen. The thief even made off with sweets she keeps for her six grandchildren.
The Mail reported how the former laundry worker was left so distraught and scared after her ordeal that she felt like a prisoner in her own home.
She has since been amazed by the support and kind wishes after appearing in the Mail but Jessie, who lives in the Rift House area of Hartlepool, is keen to make sure no-one else suffers as she has.
The 85-year-old is backing a Hartlepool Crime Prevention Panel key-shaped leaflet. 10,000 have been produced and will be handed out at events and to homes in burglary hotspots.
It urges people to make sure their houses are secure at all times as it only takes an opportunist thief a matter of seconds to skulk in and out of an unlocked home.
Mum-of-three Jessie, who fell victim to the burglar between 8am and 11am on Wednesday, July 27, said: “I was a victim but now I feel much safer after all the support I have had from the police, victim support and many others.
“I shouldn’t have left my door unlocked, but I did and it shows what can happen.
“I was lucky because all that was taken was money, I wasn’t hurt.
“Things like money can be replaced but your health can’t and that’s why it is important people follow the message.”
Colin Hopkins, crime prevention advisor for Hartlepool New Deal for Communities (NDC), visited Jessie, who has been widowed since husband Charles since died in 1992 aged 71, after her burglary to help make her home more secure and to talk about how she could keep herself safer.
He said: “This leaflet is very important in getting the message over that something as simple as locking doors and windows can greatly reduce crime.
“It is great to see Jessie in much better spirits after having all the support she has had.”
The leaflet was designed by students on a Prince’s Trust programme at Stockton Riverside College and sponsored by Hartlepool firms AC Lock & Safe and Weatherproof Windows and Conservatories.
It is being backed by Cleveland Police and the Hartlepool Mail.
Anyone with information about the burglary at Jessie’s home should call Hartlepool Police on (01642) 326326 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.