IN HER 43 years living at the same address, it is only now that a 63-year-old disabled woman is afraid of being in her own home after becoming another victim of the copper thieves.

The pensioner asked not to be named for fear that she will be targeted again. She said the theft, which happened on November 1, has made her feel “vulnerable” and “paranoid”.

In the early hours of the morning, thieves sawed off two, six foot overflow copper pipes which run from underneath her first floor window and down the front of her Sentinel-rented house in Fountains Close, Popley.

It happened when the grandmother-of-two had her 12-year-old granddaughter staying overnight.

“I just felt sick when I discovered what had happened,” she told The Gazette. “To know that somebody has been on your property and done that to you – it’s a horrible feeling.”

In Fountains Close, there have been several other victims. A recently widowed 71-year-old woman, who again asked not to be named, had her copper pipes sawed off by crooks on October 28.

“It makes you feel so helpless,” she said. “It makes you feel unsafe in your home.”

She added that the trauma of the incident, coupled with the recent loss of her husband, means she desperately wants to move out of her home of 20 years.

She welcomed the police’s announcement that they would beef up patrols, but added: “It’s a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. We can’t confront the thieves, and if we saw it happening and rang the police, then they would be long gone.”

The pair said they have been warning their neighbours in this tight-knit part of Popley, but believe there is little they can do to stop the wave of thefts.

They said that up to 10 homes in Fountains Close alone have been targeted, and the thefts mean that everybody is now looking over their shoulder.