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Cherry-knocking turns to theft of OAPs' doorbells

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: June 05, 2012

Gloucestershire Constabulary

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FRUSTRATED residents were already sick and tired of being woken up at all hours by people ringing their doorbells then running away.

But their feelings turned to bewilderment when their doorbells started to go missing.

One 90-year-old man from Wells Close in Warden Hill has had to replace his doorbell a number of times after it was repeatedly stolen.

He said that first he had become the victim of cherry-knocking, but soon his doorbell went missing as well.

The man, who does not want to be named, has had to replace his bell three times in the last two months.

The first time, he said, the thieves struck in the early morning when he was asleep.

"The first time it happened was at about 2am and I thought I heard a bell, but I didn't see anybody," he said.

"I woke up in the morning and my bell was gone.

"Some of my neighbours have had the same problem and the police have written a letter to everyone warning people not to open the door unless they know who it is.

"When I heard the bell the next time I told whoever it was I was not going to open the door until I saw them. It was just one person and he did not say a word. It can be very disturbing at that hour of night.

"I am an elderly gentleman, but for the elderly women living on their own, it would be really disturbing.

"It has affected my peaceful existence and disturbed my equilibrium."

Another Wells Close resident, who also did not want to be named, said he was not very worried that people, who he presumed were youngsters, were ringing his doorbell at 1.30am, then running off.

"For us it was just a one off thing and I think it is a bit of an over reaction from the police," he said.

"We are not worried about it all – it is just something that kids do.

"It does make you wonder though as it seems some parents do not know where their children are at that hour."

Police are trying to track down the culprits, and signs are up in the neighbourhood warning cold callers not to knock.

Anti-social behaviour has also been noted in the area in other forms; residents reported problems with youngsters hanging around the Salisbury Avenue play area, where graffiti and empty drinks bottles have been strewn around the park.

PCSO Debbie Hurcombe told Warden Hill parish council last month that covert operations and high visibility policing would be taking place to try to catch the culprits.

She said police also wanted to engage with the youths.

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