Devious thieves steal £500 from 87 year-old RAF veteran in Fareham town centre

THIEVES have left an 87-year-old RAF veteran ‘astonished’ and ‘angry’ after taking £500 from him in a broad daylight mugging in Fareham town centre.

Thursday, 6th June 2019, 6:58 pm
Brian Colley was grabbed by a man in Fareham with a ruse to steal money from him after he had withdrawn 500 from Nat West bank in West Street, Fareham, Hampshire, which he had put in the inside pocket of his jacket Picture: Malcolm Wells (190606-1989)

Brian Colley had just withdrawn his monthly housekeeping budget from the Natwest on West Street when the gang of thieves struck at 1pm on Monday.

The former aircraft engineer, who served from 1947 to 1961 in bases around the world, described a man ‘tackling’ him from behind, with a woman approaching him to say the pair needed help getting to hospital because she was pregnant.

Brian, who has difficulty walking due to osteoarthritis, said he ‘couldn’t move’ when the man grabbed him by the shoulders and three other men surrounded them.

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Brian Colley was grabbed by a man in Fareham with a ruse to steal money from him after he had withdrawn 500 from Nat West bank in West Street, Fareham, Hampshire, which he had put in the inside pocket of his jacket Picture: Malcolm Wells (190606-1989)

He said: ‘He had his hands around my shoulders so I couldn’t move.

‘At the time I didn’t realise what was going on – I just wanted to get free from him.

‘He pointed to a picture of a hospital on his phone, and the men pointed down the road.

‘Eventually they just walked off, and his girlfriend stayed talking to me, saying she was in pain, and then she walked off.’

Nat West Bank in West Street, Fareham Picture: Malcolm Wells (190606-2012)

When arrived home, he found the money had been taken from his inside jacket pocket. 

‘I felt sick,’ he said. 

The incident left Brian, who lives alone, ‘shocked’ and ‘angry’ that he was robbed in broad daylight.

He said: ‘It was market day, so the road was full of traffic.

Brian Colley Picture: Malcolm Wells (190606-1959)

‘There were other people on the other side of the road.

‘I was so astonished. If I could walk properly, I would be out looking for them every five minutes – I want to see them brought to justice.’

Brian hoped by reporting the incident to the police within 10 minutes of getting home, the thieves would be caught, but he has been left feeling ‘no-one was interested’ after the police were unable to visit the veteran until yesterday. 

Aside from being shaken by the encounter, Brian walked away from the incident without injury, but he is concerned a similar incident could have ended in tragedy.

He said: ‘It wouldn’t matter to them if it was a 90-year-old woman.

‘Someone could have a heart attack – all over £500.

‘To some people, it could be a killer.

A spokesman from Hampshire Police said: ‘We are investigating a theft which took place in West Street, Fareham, near the Kings Road junction.

‘At around 1pm on 3 June, a man in his 80s was approached by a man and a woman he did not know.

‘It was reported that the man wrapped his arms around the victim and engaged him in conversation.

‘When the victim returned home later, he noticed that a large amount of cash was missing from his jacket pocket.’

A NatWest spokesperson said: ‘We are sorry to hear that Mr Colley has been a victim of a crime. We are assisting the police in their investigations.’

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact police on 101, quoting 44190190407.