Thieves steal car from mum with cancer during devastating spree in Fareham street

HEARTLESS thieves have left a woman cancer patient devastated after stealing the car her husband bought to ‘cheer her up’ after months of painful chemotherapy.

Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 12:15 pm
Maggie Smithson from Fareham. Burglars have broken into their home and stolen her new car which was a gift following chemotherapy for cancer. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (010719-4)

Fareham mum-of-two Maggie Smithson was left in tears when burglars broke into her home and stole her £14,500 Nissan Qashqai.

The crime took place between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, when a gang ransacked several properties in Frosthole Crescent in a matter of minutes, stealing a number of cars and house keys.

Crooks broke the locks on Mrs Smithson’s front door while her husband Gary was asleep in the living room before snatching the keys to her new motor, which had been bought five weeks earlier and had just 4,000 miles on the clock.

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Maggie Smithson from Fareham. Burglars have broken into their home and stolen her new car which was a gift following chemotherapy for cancer. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (010719-4)

Beauty manager Maggie, 58, said: ‘This has been absolutely devastating for us. I can’t put into words how it’s knocked us back.

‘We had been saving for five years to buy this new car. It was a gift from my husband (Gary) to me for getting through my six months of chemotherapy.

‘It was meant to cheer me up and build my confidence back. Now this has just been completely destroyed.

‘It has taken away the little bit of confidence that I was building up since getting over my chemotherapy.

‘It’s going to take me a long, long time to recover from this.’

Thieves worked methodically breaking into several homes in the crescent during their spree.

They used tools to pry open doors and sneak into homes while their victims slept.

It’s believed the gang ‘cased’ the area, targeting the road when its streets lights were automatically switched off, using the darkness as cover.

One thug, believed to have been coasting down the road on a stolen motorbike - which was later dumped - is reported to have been a look out.

They only fled after Mr Smithson woke up and called the police.

Mother-of-two Mrs Smithson – who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer four years ago before being diagnosed with the illness again at the end of last year – said: ‘We don’t know why Gary woke up, maybe he sensed someone had been in the house.

‘But it was lucky he hadn’t woken up when they were in our house. I don’t know what could have happened.’

She has since slammed Hampshire County Council for its decision to switch off the street lights between 1am and 4am.

Revealing the move in April, the council said it would save up to £230,000 a year.

But residents at the time slammed the authority for the move, saying it could cause crime rates to spike.

She added: ‘I feel trapped in my own home. I don’t feel safe here. The council must reverse this decision immediately.’

Hampshire police confirmed officers arrested five people on Monday, July 29.

It comes after seven burglaries or attempted burglaries were reported at Frosthole Crescent between 9.30pm on July 24 and 7am on July 25.

And at 2.50am this morning a car was stolen in a burglary at Burnt House Lane in Fareham.

Two vehicles have been recovered by detectives investigating the thefts.

A 15-year-old boy, a 20-year-old man, a 19-year-old man, a 42-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man are in custody.

Inspector Sarah Nicholson, of the Fareham Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: 'We know that this type of crime can have a great impact on the community, and officers are working hard following lines of enquiry.'

Call 101 quoting 44190255983.

A county council spokeswoman said: ‘We work closely with the police and actively review any arrangements in areas where they express concern.’