A VULNERABLE pensioner was left trembling in his bed as raiders ransacked his bungalow.
Police say the 76-year-old man, who is bed-ridden, was in his bedroom in the early hours when he heard burglars searching through his belongings after sneaking in through an unlocked door.
It comes as Hartlepool Police have warned householders to lock their doors and windows after 11 burglaries at insecure homes in the town in less than a fortnight.
Ten insecure burglaries have involved a door being left open while one involved a window being left open since Saturday, May 25, leading officers to issue a warning for people to be more careful.
While the incidents have taken place across Hartlepool, the Throston and West Park areas have been particularly targeted.
Officers investigating the burglaries say the offences have predominantly taken place overnight and in the early hours of the morning, but two of the incidents have taken place in the afternoon, while residents were actually in the property.
Stolen items include wallets, purses, phones, laptops, car keys and handbags.
Detective Inspector Alan Todd, from Hartlepool Police, said: “Within the last few weeks we have had an increase in the number of insecure burglaries taking place in Hartlepool.
“It is important that people help themselves by locking their doors and windows so that they do not become a victim of crime.
“In the recent warm weather, when people are in and out of their homes and gardens, it is important that people remember to secure their homes.
“Not doing so provides the perfect opportunity for these crimes to take place.”
Four men have been arrested in connection with the incidents and all have been bailed pending further enquiries.
The burglary at the pensioner’s home happened in Bamburgh Avenue, Horden and police were alerted when the terrified man pressed a buzzer to alert Careline, before police officers were sent out.
Detective Constable Darren Cresswell, of Peterlee CID, said: “Police discovered that someone had entered the property and made an untidy search of the kitchen and sitting room area without taking anything.
“This gentleman is quite infirm and bed-ridden and was woken in the early hours to hear people in his home, which obviously left him very shaken.”
Det Con Cresswell said house-to-house inquiries in the area had so far drawn a blank and police are appealing for witnesses to anything suspicious to come forward.
Police are also seeking information about a suspicious male who was going door-to-door in the area last week claiming to be doing a survey.
He said although police don’t believe this man is linked to this incident, they are seeking information regarding his identity as he may be able to help with the inquiry.
Det Con Cresswell added: “The gentleman’s house is surrounded by other elderly occupants’ homes and they have been reassured and given advice.
“We are urging people, despite the warm nights, to ensure that their properties are locked.”
Anyone with any information regarding the incidents is asked to call police on the non-emergency 101 number or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.