Pensioners in Portsmouth ‘heartbroken’ after thieves steal food for their Christmas dinner

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RESIDENTS at a sheltered housing block for over-60s have been left ‘heartbroken’ after burglars stole the food for their Christmas dinner.

Tenants at Harrison House in Stamshaw were excited to enjoy a festive feast of lamb, beef, pork and turkey with vegetables and a tipple next week. 

Frances Copping and Glenis Watts in the pantry where their food was stolen. The trolley and box pictured had been full of drinks and snacks for residents. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Frances Copping and Glenis Watts in the pantry where their food was stolen. The trolley and box pictured had been full of drinks and snacks for residents. Picture: Habibur Rahman

But their plans have been thrown into jeopardy after heartless thieves got into their Stamshaw Road accommodation and stole between £400 and £600 worth of goods.

Glenis Watts made the crushing discovery on Monday – exactly a week before she and her friends were scheduled to unite in the lounge for a meal they had been planning all year. 

‘I’ve been through every emotion you can have and when I told the other tenants they were speechless,’ the 70-year-old said. 

Among the items taken were four legs of lamb, two joints of beef, three joints of pork, a turkey crown, mince pies and more than 15 bottles of spirits and wine. 

An exterior view of Harrison House in Stamshaw Road, Portsmouth. Picture Byron Melton

An exterior view of Harrison House in Stamshaw Road, Portsmouth. Picture Byron Melton

An estimated 23 of Harrison House’s 30 tenants, aged between 64 and 94, had put money aside each week throughout the year to buy the ingredients.

Their disappearance has left resident Patricia Went ‘absolutely gobsmacked’. 

‘We’ve saved all year for our Christmas do and some scumbag has come and taken it all,’ the 76-year-old said. 

‘How dare they, especially to [target] old people who haven’t got much anyway – that’s why we live in a place like this.’ 

A number of local Samaritans have begun donating food and money to the residents of Harrison House after the burglary, which is being investigated by Hampshire police. 

Resident Frances Copping’s bedroom is next-door to the pantry where the items were stolen. The 77-year-old insists the party will go on for her pals.

‘What makes this so heartbreaking is that we had worked all year to get this money together – this was going to be our Christmas,' she said. 

‘But whoever did this will not beat us. People are relying on this meal.’ 

Hampshire Constabulary have released a CCTV image of a man they want to speak to in relation to the burglary. 

A force spokesman said: ‘We are investigating a burglary which took place at a residential property in Stamshaw Road, Portsmouth.

‘Some time between 5pm on Sunday, December 9, and 3.30pm on Monday, December 10 approximately £400-600 worth of food and drink was stolen.

‘Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, quoting 44180460359.’

Anyone who would like to donate food to the residents affected by the burglary is urged to visit: Harrison House, Stamshaw Road, Portsmouth, PO2 8PG.