A MAJOR cash reward is being offered to help catch three robbers who subjected an elderly couple to a terrifying ordeal in their own home.
Detectives investigating the aggravated burglary at the bungalow of grandparents Harry Carrick and Sylvia Everett are hoping the £3,000 reward put up by Crimestoppers will provide information leading to an arrest into the incident which happened on January 12, at Laburnum Grove, Cleadon Village.
The three men forced their way into the bungalow, tied up the couple and threatened to cut off their fingers unless they revealed the location of cash and jewellery.
Storming into their home, the masked men pulled pillowcases over their victims’ heads and left them tied up for over an hour while they ransacked the house, taking their savings and an estimated £25,000 worth of jewellery and leaving Mr Carrick with painful bruising.
Now, more than a week since the crime, they are still on the loose and Mrs Everett, 75 and Mr Carrick, 78, say they have been left deeply traumatised and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
“It’s been a living hell,” said Sylvia, a former postmistress from Nottingham, who moved to Cleadon 20 years ago after meeting Mr Everett on a cruise.
“We’ve hardly slept at night because we are so frightened they are going to come back. When I close my eyes I am haunted by those horrible masks, coming at me with a raised crowbar and my own pillowcases.
“I have given them away to a charity shop, I couldn’t bear to see them.”
Mr Carrick, a retired gold trader and engineering boss, had just come out of hospital on the day of the attack, after receiving treatment for a chest infection.
“It’s knocked everything out of Harry,” she added. “He’s only just been able to get out of bed and hasn’t been out of the house. We have had lots of cards from people to say they are thinking of us, which has been lovely and we have had extra security gates put on the house, but every time a cat goes past and sets off the security light, we panic.
“It is hard knowing they are still out there. I just hope the police can catch them soon.”
Officers are continuing to investigate and now independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers is offering the reward for information supplied to them leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the aggravated burglary.
Detective Chief Inspector Christina Barrett, from Northumbria Police, said: “We are following up a number of lines of enquiry and hope that the reward Crimestoppers is putting up could make the difference in us finding those responsible. I’d ask anyone with any information to come forward.”
Dave Hunter, North East Regional Manager at Crimestoppers, said: “The people responsible for this crime should not be allowed to get away with these despicable actions, and for this reason I am appealing to the public for their help in coming forward with any information they might have about this incident.
“By contacting Crimestoppers your anonymity is guaranteed and you will not have to give a statement to the police or go to court.”
If you have any information on this crime contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the secure online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org