FRIGHTENED pensioners living in fear of more burglaries at a Stafford sheltered housing complex have urged bosses to install a bigger security fence - but are worried they may have to stump up the cash themselves.
Sylvia Bates and Stan McGuinness, who live at George Hill Court in Fancy Walk, were both victims of break-ins within weeks of each other while they slept in their beds.
The burglaries were reported to police, who said the waist-high fence around the complex, should be replaced with a taller one to deter further trouble.
But Mrs Bates said when they contacted Housing 21, which owns the complex, they were told they would have to pay for any new fencing themselves.
Housing 21 now says it is looking at a number of security options and is hoping to avoid passing on the costs, although it has not yet ruled out asking residents to fork out.
Mrs Bates told the Newsletter she had suffered a string of problems since moving there in 2000, including an attempted burglary two years ago.
“The break-in has made me more wary,” she said. “The burglars got in through a small window and took my hand bag and rifled though some drawers. It is the thought of someone being in my home while I was asleep in bed and going through my things that upsets me the most.
“There is an alleyway to the side of my flat and Stan’s flat, which is above mine, so we are quite vulnerable. The burglars used ladders stolen from a window cleaner’s van to get into Stan’s flat.
“It is making everyone scared. We just want to feel a bit more secure. We are pensioners, we can’t afford to pay for fencing and why should we? It is the housing associations’s responsibility. We all pay our rent.
“I thought about getting a petition up but we’ve tried doing things like that before and it hasn’t got us anywhere.” Kris Peach, regional operations director for Housing 21, said: “Regrettably there have been two recent burglaries at George Hill Court. The safety and security of residents is of prime concern to us and we are working with the crime prevention team on various options to improve security at the court.
“We would anticipate that there would not necessarily need to be any change to service charges but we will be consulting further with residents.”