AN ELDERLY disabled man has spoken out after burglars broke into his home in the middle of the night and stole a safe.
Benjamin Lowton, from Leigh, woke up shortly after 3am last Thursday to find two men carrying the heavy cast-iron safe out of the front room of his property on Glebe Street.
Today his daughter branded the intruders “cowardly and disgusting” as police appealed for help in tracking them down.
Mr Lowton, who is deaf and also an amputee, was alerted to the offenders’ presence after feeling unusually cold as the front door was wide open.
He has now spoken of how vulnerable he felt following the burglary, in which around £500 and a number of important financial documents were taken, and told how he was forced to cancel a holiday in Blackpool as the money for the stay was in the safe.
Mr Lowton, 82, said: “I was fast asleep and I felt it was very cold.
“I thought to myself it was maybe one of the carers letting themselves in, but then I saw two figures going out of the front room with my safe and a pile of important letters.
“I didn’t make a noise because with me being like I am I didn’t think I would have been able to withstand an attack, so I just kept quiet and waited until they had gone to ring 999.
“I was shook up by it for about two days but I’m calming down a bit now.
“The house is more or less secure again now because I felt very insecure.
“I was going to go to Blackpool on holiday but I’ve had to cancel that. They really have messed me up.
“The police have been really on the ball and I’m also very thankful to my family for their support and consoling me.”
Mr Lowton says he is particularly concerned by how quickly the whole incident was over and by the fact the offenders did not have to ransack or search his home for the safe.
He said: “I think they knew what they were going for.
“It took them no more than three or four minutes, they were in and out.
“I really do feel they knew there was a safe there.”
The offenders, who were described by Mr Lowton as being a short man and a taller man wearing dark clothing, gained entry to the address by smashing a box which only opens using a code in order to take the key out.
Mr Lowton’s daughter Miranda Eloff says this aspect of the crime has particularly concerned her as Wigan Council told her they had never come across another similar incident and the offenders took the box with them.
She said: “It’s worrying because the council say this has never happened before.
“They’ve had people tampering with them but no-one’s actually managed to get inside for the key.
“I think it’s very sad people feel they have the right to take from people who are vulnerable and elderly.
“It’s just cowardly and disgusting.”
Anyone with information about this incident should call Greater Manchester Police (GMP) on 101 or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.