Vulnerable Sheffield pensioner left ‘broken’ after theives smash window to steal purse and phone

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A vulnerable pensioner has been left ‘broken’ after thieves smashed their way into her home, stealing money and her precious ‘lifeline’ of a mobile phone used to stay in touch with her loved ones during lockdown.

Ellen Hartley, 77, who lives in Darnall, was awoken at about 1am this morning by two large banging noises from downstairs.

Mobility issues meant she struggled to get out of bed to see what had happened. But when she eventually made it downstairs she noticed her window had been smashed open and her iPhone and purse containing £140 in cash was gone.

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Susan said: “Firstly they tried to cut her back door window with a glass cutter, then smashed in another back window and leant in and opened her door.

Ellen Hartley, 77, from Darnall.Ellen Hartley, 77, from Darnall.
Ellen Hartley, 77, from Darnall.

“I think she was targeted deliberately. It just doesn’t feel right”

An attempt to use one of Ellen’s bank cards was made this morning at around 7.30am, but fortunately it had already been blocked. A tracking app for her iPhone has also located it at two different addresses in Sheffield, including one on nearby Cresswell Road according to Ellen’s neice Rena.

“We are just grateful she was in bed because it could have been a different story altogether,” Susan said.

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“We’re lucky because I did her shopping yesterday and she wouldn’t have had any money to buy food.”

Susan said thieves tried to use a glass cutter to gain entrance.Susan said thieves tried to use a glass cutter to gain entrance.
Susan said thieves tried to use a glass cutter to gain entrance.

Ellen suffers from a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs so has been self-isolating for her own safety. But her welfare has been put at further risk following the burglary.

Susan said: “We have had to come up to her house, we are not supposed to be here because she’s vulnerable and high-risk.

“We have been in contact with her all the time with that phone, it’s just so awful.”

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Susan said her mum, although unharmed, has been left in a bad way without the “important lifeline” of a phone, which was not covered by insurance.

The glass shattered across Ellen's front room.The glass shattered across Ellen's front room.
The glass shattered across Ellen's front room.

“She just feels broken, like she has been battered.

“She feels down, we don’t have spare phones and we can’t even buy one because she doesn’t have a bank card for now.”

The police have been informed of the break-in.