A FERMANAGH businesswoman says her young children are living in fear after she and her husband were the victims of a robbery in which more than £20,000 worth of stock was stolen.
Thieves broke into Albert J Jones, an agricultural machinery business in Ederney, in the early hours of January 13 and 14 where they spent over seven hours stealing top of the range equipment, including power tools, compressors and pressure washers.
Kathryn Jones, who runs the family business with her husband Mark, said the burglary has left her “feeling vulnerable” and revealed how less than a week before the incident there was an attempted break in at the couple’s home.
“First someone attempted to break into our house then six days later we had our shop broken into it. We feel we were targeted and it has left us very shook up,” Mrs. Jones told The Impartial Reporter yesterday (Wednesday).
The 30 year old, who has three children; Alfie (seven), Imogen (six) and one year old Isla, said she does not feel safe in her own home.
“I am now scared putting my children to bed. The two older children say they are scared about robbers, they are constantly talking about robbers being outside and it has been a nightmare getting them to bed over the past two weeks.
“I do not feel safe in my own home, I am coming in locking the door and closing the blinds. I am feeling vulnerable,” she said.
It’s believed the thieves, possibly five in total, accessed the shop from the rear of the building on the Letterboy Road where they “had a field day overnight”, stealing clothing, boots, kids’ boiler suits, toy tractors, paint brushes, toolboxes, drill parts, floodlights, chainsaws and many other items, including bathroom units and bar stools that were in storage for the couple’s new home.
There are unconfirmed reports of a small van being spotted in the area following the incident.
While the Police Service of Northern Ireland did visit the premises the next day, Mrs. Jones says she has written down all the items that were stolen but officers have yet to collect the list.
“The fact there appears to be so much rural crime, I think, speaks volumes in itself. There doesn’t seem to be much of a consequence whereas if you drive at 40 miles per hour in a 30 miles per house zone you would be done.
“The frustrating thing for us is we have worked hard to build a business and feel we are giving something to the community. It does not come easy, it does not come over night, it takes a lot of hard work,” said Mrs. Jones.
PSNI Sergeant Noeleen Stickland is appealing to anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity between 6pm on January 13 and 3.45pm on January 14 or who may have information about the incident, to contact police in Enniskillen on 101 quoting the reference number 765 of 14/1/18.
If someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Meanwhile, police are also appealing for information following the theft of a Vauxhall Antara from outside a house in Crom Cruaich Way in Belcoo sometime in the early hours of January 7.
The vehicle was subsequently recovered in the Republic of Ireland on January 15.
Anyone who may have information about the incident is asked to contact police in Enniskillen on 101 quoting the reference number 167 of 08/01/18.