A ‘VERY brave’ 74-year-old woman confronted two suspected thieves who were targeting cars near her home.
Sandra Leach took action after two hooded men were spotted loitering around cars in Warwick Place late at night on Sunday, March 5, shining torches into the vehicles.
Thornbury has seen a spate of burglaries and thefts from vehicles in recent months, with police saying that power tools and other valuables have been targeted.
“I saw a pair of people walking outside the window, and at first thought it was just my neighbours,” said Mrs Leach. “But when I went to look I saw two men near the cars, with one shining a light into my sister’s car.”
Mrs Leach went outside and asked the men what they were doing, and challenged them when they claimed to live there.
Her sister Lynne, who lives next door, then came outside to find out what was going on, but was met by abusive language as the two men then began walking away from the cul-de-sac.
Mrs Leach’s description of the offenders matches that of suspects in a number of other reported incidents, with one said to be a large man more than six-foot-tall, while the other is of a smaller, slighter frame and could possibly be female.
Further break-ins were reported across Thornbury the night of March 5, with a car in Park Road targeted along with a garage in Squires Leaze.
Police said they believe the two thefts to be linked, and that Mrs Leach’s actions probably prevented a third offence.
Thornbury beat manager PC Sean White said that while police “would not recommend people go and confront offenders for their own safety,” he described what Mrs Leach did as “exceptional.”
“What Mrs Leach did was very brave and no doubt resulted in preventing the would-be offenders from potentially causing damage and stealing residents’ possessions,” he said.
“We are fortunate to have a very strong neighbourhood watch presence in Thornbury. It is the most proactive in South Gloucestershire, with the most groups in any town or village in the county.”
The Warwick Place neighbourhood watch group, which includes the St Mary’s Vicarage and other houses nearby, was set up last year following a series of break-ins.
Mrs Leach said: “I would definitely recommend the neighbourhood watch scheme to anyone, especially those in Thornbury with the town growing the way it is. People are living longer and getting older, so those who are more vulnerable need to look out for each other.
“We have always been the kind of community to look out for each other. In a way, it’s not just about looking out for crime, but looking out for each other in general.”