ELDERLY residents from a sheltered housing scheme in Oldham were delighted to see the return of their prized musical instruments which had been stolen following a break-in.
Two keyboards were taken from the communal lounge at St Mark’s Court, Chadderton, but thanks to quick action by local police, the culprit was apprehended and the keyboards returned within just 10 days.
St Mark’s Court manager Christine Crossfield said that on-site CCTV footage had helped officers to quickly identify and arrest the thief, who was a serial burglar already known to them. He has since been jailed for a year.
Mrs Crossfield said that the residents, aged from 54 to 100, loved to hear the keyboard music playing again and were enjoying their regular sing-a-longs in the communal lounge.
St Mark's Court is a complex of 22 flats for elderly residents. It is run by The Guinness Northern Counties Group, which owns 50,000 homes across the UK and operates in more than 150 local authority areas.
Resident Doug Boardman, 67, who estimated that the instruments would have cost around £3,000 to replace, said: “I felt sick when I heard they’d been stolen. They’re my own keyboards but I kept them in the lounge as the other residents like to listen to me playing. We often have a bit of sing-a-long on a Saturday night.”
Mrs Crossfield said: “We were all shocked by the break in and losing the keyboards was a bitter blow. Luckily our cameras were able to help police to catch the culprit. He got a bit more than he bargained for when he broke in here!”
She added: “On behalf of all the residents, I’d like to thank Greater Manchester Police for all their help. We couldn’t believe how quickly they caught the burglar and recovered our keyboards. It’s really put a smile back on everyone’s faces."
Hearing about the incident, Selectamark's head of housing John Earnshaw, visited St Mark's Court and offered to protect the keyboards and other electronic items from theft in the future by marking them with the company's latest forensic marking product, SelectaDNA.
John Earnshaw said: ”One of the main advantages of using a product like SelectaDNA is that the criminal is instantly linked to the crime scene if he handles marked goods. It also acts as a strong deterrent to thieves, as marked goods are extremely difficult to sell on. Local thieves should beware!”
Christine Crossfield said: “We are really pleased to have everything securely marked now, it is just the deterrent we need to warn burglars against entering the premises. If they know our property is marked, they will certainly think twice before risking it.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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