Terror at Christmas – armed robbers target two families in Hartlepool

Rebecca Griffiths. Picture by FRANK REID
Rebecca Griffiths. Picture by FRANK REID

A FAMILY were left horrified when an armed yob barged his way into their home on Christmas Day during a terrifying aggravated burglary.

Then just three days later hammer-wielding raiders smashed their way into the home of a pregnant woman before making threats and swiping money which was to pay her gas and electric bills.

Police have confirmed that a 29-year-old man has been arrested for two counts of aggravated burglary and theft, at the houses in Richmond Street and Carlton Street, in Hartlepool, and was in custody being questioned by detectives.

Today, expectant mum Rebecca Griffiths spoke about her terrifying ordeal at the hands of the raiders while she was at her home in Carlton Street, where she has lived for about a year.

The 21-year-old former child worker, who is 13 weeks pregnant and lives with her partner, Niramax worker Adam Ringwood, 21, said she heard a massive “bang” at about 2.50pm on Sunday.

The pair ran into the kitchen to find a man using a hammer to smash his way through her kitchen window.

Rebecca, who was uninjured in the raid despite being face to face with the weapon-wielding criminal, said: “It was terrifying.

“This one man had climbed through the window and there was another one trying to get in. There was another three of them waiting outside as well.

“The first one sat on the table while he was holding this silver metal mallet-type hammer.

“He said, ‘I’ll take a seat on this table until you give me some money’ and then he told the others to come in and ‘do them both over’.”

“There was a pile of money on the table behind him which was my Christmas money and money to pay the gas and electric. The lad saw it and took that and said ‘sorry I’ve got the wrong house’, and then left.”

The burglar and the rest of the gang then left in a car, which was later recovered by police.

She added: “I’m so scared I daren’t be in my house. This morning I had to ring my mam to come and get me out of the house because I didn’t dare leave the bedroom. I just can’t face being in there, I’m horrified.”

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said as well as the aggravated burglary in Carlton Street, they are also investigating a similar offence in Richmond Street, off Oxford Road, in Hartlepool, at 5.50am on Christmas Day.

They say a man is believed to have barged into the property, this time with a different weapon, and swiped a phone.

The spokeswoman said: “A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of two counts of aggravated burglary following an incident at a house in Carlton Street, in the town centre area of Hartlepool, around 3pm on Sunday, December 28, and one in Richmond Street in the early hours of Christmas Day.

“He is being questioned by police.”