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Appeal after elderly couple receive threats and have property repeatedly damaged

We’re appealing for the public’s help to identify those responsible for the repeat victimisation of an elderly couple in South Gloucestershire.

During the past 15 years the couple, who live on Primrose Drive in Thornbury, have repeatedly been victims of criminal damage and have received several threatening letters in the post.

Some of the incidents reported to us include:

  • Glass bottles filled with paint thrown over their home
  • At least four threatening letters sent in the post – some demanding money
  • Their car being scratched
  • A concrete slab thrown through their conservatory window
  • Eggs thrown at their house
  • Roofing nails scattered on their driveway
  • Laundry capsules thrown on their lawn – burning the grass
  • Wine bottles and beer cans thrown into their garden

The majority of the incidents have happened while the victims have been away.

A formal problem solving plan is in place to try and identify the perpetrator(s) and the neighbourhood team have worked with partners to provide reassurance and support to the victims.

CCTV cameras have previously been installed at their address while the council has improved the lighting on the public footpath which backs on to their property.

One of the anonymous letters sent to the couple

Thornbury beat manager PC Natalie Jones said: “We know the victims are being specifically targeted as the anonymous letters are personally addressed.

“We also know the incidents are linked as the letters quite clearly make reference to the colour of paint the offender threatens to use next.

“Being victim of one incident of criminal damage is bad enough for any elderly couple but to be subjected to dozens of incidents over more than a decade is quite frankly awful.

“The paint attacks in particular have left them feeling particularly vulnerable as they’re unable to clean the paint themselves and have had to pay for it to be removed while the letters have left them scared to leave their home.

“The stress and anxiety these incidents are causing the victims is something we desperately want to bring an end to and we really need the public’s help to achieve this.

“Have you witnessed any of the incidents?

“Have you ever seen anyone acting suspiciously in the Primrose Drive area?

“Have you ever witnessed anyone pouring paint into glass bottles?

“Any information, no matter how insignificant you think it might be, could help identify whoever is responsible for these shameful incidents so please get in touch if you know or have seen something.”

PC Jones added: “This is a frustrating case for us. The couple have no idea who could be responsible and it can be many months – even years – between incidents. CCTV has been installed and we’ve had items examined by our forensics teams but we still haven’t got that one piece of evidence to help us identify the person responsible – that’s why we’ve issued this appeal.

“We do have forensic evidence which could help us eliminate people from our enquiries so even if you only have a suspicion, do please pass the information on. You can speak anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you don’t want to talk to us.”

The lady, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “These incidents make us feel anxious and frustrated. It’s very stressful and has affected our health. We have no peace of mind. We think it’s one person, but can’t believe that someone would hold a grudge for so long. I want to know why they’re doing this to us. What have we done? The police are doing their very best for us. They’ve always been there for us and we’re very happy with their support. We’re not going to let this person win.”

If you can help, call 101 and provide the call handler with the reference 5220207115.

You can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their Anonymous Online Form.

No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court or have to speak to police when contacting Crimestoppers.