Police meal brings ray of sunshine to those targeted by criminals

ALL SMILES Front, from left, PCSO Lynda Potter and Hazel Millsom, with pensioners from Waterlooville who have been victims of crime and who joined the police for a lunch. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133609-976)
ALL SMILES Front, from left, PCSO Lynda Potter and Hazel Millsom, with pensioners from Waterlooville who have been victims of crime and who joined the police for a lunch. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133609-976)
Daniel Bates, 45, of Beach Gardens, Selsey

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BEING the victim of any crime is an uncomfortable experience and can be the only time you have a sit-down chat with a police officer.

But people who have suffered burglary, anti-social behaviour and assault got to see the police in a different light when they all spent the afternoon together in the pub.

Police in Waterlooville decided to bring some cheer to people’s lives when they organised a meal at The Red Lion pub, in Havant Road, Horndean.

The social event was paid through a £300 grant from the Wecock Big Local scheme, which is a £1m pot of lottery cash designed to benefit the Wecock area over the next decade.

The lunch was as a welcome surprise to 84-year-old Charlotte Gray, of Eagle Avenue, Wecock.

She had been in touch with the police before about anti-social behaviour problems.

Mrs Gray, who moved to Britain from Germany in 1949, said: ‘There were youths on the stairs in the block causing a nuisance and banging on doors.

‘It used to be a usual thing, but it’s really quiet now. The event was lovely. It was so different.

‘When you think of police, you think of police officers, but to see them like this, helping and entertaining, it was so nice.

‘I did not realise there were so many people on the estate who had been abused.’

Hazel Millsom, 67, from Cowplain, was upset after crooks ransacked her shed and stole with tools.

She was delighted to get an invitation from the police.

She said: ‘It was the second time we have been broken into.

‘You kind of forget about it until it happens again.’

She added that the police had been ‘good company’ on the day.

The event was organised by PCSO Lynda Potter and her colleagues on Waterlooville North Beat.

She said police really cared about their local community.

She added: ‘We as the police team receive numerous calls from these residents on a regular basis regarding anti-social behaviour issues, burglaries, neighbour disputes, noise complaints and sometimes just reassurance. These residents are often very lonely and we might be the only person they get to speak to.’