AN AGHYARAN man who sustained a vicious stab wound during a robbery in 2014, has once again fallen victim to criminals.
Paddy Hans, who lives with his wife Marian on the Aghyaran Road, is this week still counting the cost after the family home was ransacked during a break-in on Friday of last week.
It’s the second time in just under five years that the family has been targeted after Paddy was attacked during a robbery of his business in Castlederg. Mr Hans required 17 stitches after a man entered his Bureau De Change business and demanded money.
This latest incident has raised fears that a cross-border gang is targeting properties in West Tyrone.
Speaking to the Strabane Chronicle, Marian Hans, said very valuable items had been taken, including designer luggage, handbags, jewellery and a sum of money.
“They gained entry through the back door and just completely ransacked the whole house. Every single room was targeted, cupboards and drawers opened and personal items strewn everywhere,” she said.
“When something like this happens, it affects not just the family directly involved but the whole community. People are living in fear that their homes could be targeted as well.
“We have to question the ratio of convictions to the number of break-ins that are taking place. At the moment there is a lot of concern that those carrying out these burglaries see themselves as above the law and effectively untouchable due to the apparent low number of convictions.”
Local Sinn Féin councillor, Kieran McGuire is urging residents to be ‘ultra-vigilant’.
“Local people are very angry that this family, who contribute so much to the local community, have been targeted by what can only be described as low-life parasites preying on the community,” he said.
“I have since learned that an unsuccessful attempt was made to break-in to another home in the area and, along with other reports of break-ins and attempted break-ins, it is clear that we are currently dealing with at least one organised gang of burglars.”
The PSNI confirmed that they are dealing with a report of a burglary at a house on the Aghyaran Road area on Friday December 14 in which a quantity of jewellery was stolen.
They have appealed for anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in the area or anyone with information to contact officers in Strabane.