The UK's fastest-growing regional news network
11°C | 10°C
13°C | 10°C
13°C | 9°C
See the full forecast for your area.
Sponsored by Britelite.
Home Medway News Article
by Jenni Horn
A family have been left devastated after a thief spent two hours casually rifling through their home while they slept upstairs.
The burglar stole precious jewellery, laptops, credit cards and even a school backpack during the raid on the house in Birkhall Close, Walderslade.
CCTV pictures show the criminal entered the property just before 5am - and did not leave until just before 7am.
He even took drinks from the fridge and, after stealing a pack of cigarettes, stopped to smoke one on the driveway before getting into the family car and driving away.
Veronica and Doug Quipp, who were asleep upstairs the whole time, along with son Cole, seven, said their lives had been ruined by the break-in.
The couple, who run the Canadian Candy Apple Company, discovered the burglary just after 8am when they woke up later than usual. Cole was already awake and told them the kitchen window was open and the jukebox had gone.
Doug, 33, then searched the house and discovered other items were missing.
The family's car, a Ford Galaxy, was later discovered burnt out in a field opposite Fitness First, in Walderslade Road.
The house is fitted with CCTV cameras inside and out. The footage reveals the burglar trying to break into the front door with a screwdriver, before trying the back door. He forces open a window and climbs into the kitchen.
Every part of the raid on Tuesday was caught on camera. The burglar went back and forth from the house to the car four times.
He went through the ground floor taking Veronica's engagement and eternity rings from a shelf and rifling through Cole's toybox, before making his way to the first floor. He did not go as far as the third floor where the family were asleep.
Veronica, 36, said: "When we saw the CCTV footage we were dumbfounded. He goes through the house at such a leisurely pace. He acted like he was a guest in our house.
"he goes through the house at such a leisurely pace. he acted like he was a guest in our house..." – veronica quipp
"Before he leaves he is seen standing on the driveway smoking a cigarette. He chucks the cigarette butt on the ground and then gets in my car and reverses out of the driveway. He didn't rush at all.
"I've watched some of the CCTV, but I can't bring myself to watch it all. It makes me feel sick." Veronica added: "My greatest concern is that this man has been in my house just yards away from my son.
"Cole woke up just 10 or 15 minutes after he left. What would have happened if he had woken up earlier and bumped into him."
The family has four dogs, but three of them were being cared for at a vets surgery at the time of the break-in after being struck down with a sickness bug. The fourth, which is only a puppy, was asleep in Veronica and Doug's bedroom.
Veronica said: "It seems strange that just days before the break-in, all the dogs got ill.
"They would have certainly barked if they were here at the time. We still don't know what caused their illness."
Veronica said the whole family now feel unsafe in their home: "The whole thing has killed us. I go from being strong and getting things organised, to breaking into pieces. I haven't slept and I can't eat.
"I wanted a drink last night and I didn't even have the guts to go downstairs to get a glass of water."
Click here for more news from Medway.
Click here for more news from around the county.