AN ELDERLY couple who returned home from a holiday to find their house had been broken into have spoken of their anger at being handed a £200 repair bill.
When Ronald, 78, and Patricia Yates, 76 jetted off to Benidorm for a fortnight of winter sun, little did they know that they would be returning last week to find a concrete block had been thrown through their utility room window at their home on Nelson Street.
While nothing appeared to have been stolen from the house the couple were astounded to find a repair bill from a private security firm for £202, including VAT, after the window was boarded up at the request of the police.
“We want to warn other people that the same could happen to them,” Mr Yates added.
Prior to their holiday the couple had arranged for a neighbour to keep an eye on the house. But when the neighbour arrived at around 1pm on Friday, November 23, to check everything was in order they found the damage and called the police.
After being told not to touch anything the neighbour and her son waited for the officers to arrive, ready to temporarily repair the window once enquiries had been completed.
But with no sign of the officers by 5pm they had to leave to attend a prior appointment.
Between then and the return of Mr and Mrs Yates officers attended the property and called a firm out to temporarily secure it.
Mr Yates told the Free Press that they felt they had been “ripped off” and if officers had attended within the time that the neighbour and her son were present they could have repaired it at little expense.
Now Mr Yates fears covering the temporary repairs and having the door repaired permanently will push up his insurance premium.
But Chief Insp Alan Farrow, who is in charge of Neighbourhood Policing in Bridlington and across the East Riding said the correct action had been taken to secure the property and the responsiblity for the fees lies with the occupants.
Chief Insp Farrow said: “Patrols were unable to attend immediately, due to other operational commitments, but several attempts to contact the informant were made to advise this but were unsuccessful.
“At the time of attendance at the property on Nelson Street attempts were again made by officers to contact the informant but as they were unable to get in touch with that person, authorization was sought to arrange for the property to be temporarily secured pending the return of the owners.
“Where an insecure property is discovered by police, the initial action is to contact the owners or key holder to alert them and to enable them to take the necessary action to render the property secure again.
“However, if this is not possible police will take steps to ensure the property is secured – a process is in place to enlist the services of an appropriate professional to undertake the necessary work.
“Ultimately though, the responsibility for fees incurred as a result of the remedial work to secure the property lies with the owner.”