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Gravesend couple sleeping in garden after thieves steal gate


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A couple are sleeping outside to protect their property after thieves stole their gate.

Paul Sargeant, 44, and Marina Wilks, 37, are bedding down outside their home to keep an eye on valuables left exposed after the 9ft wooden gate was removed from their home close to Gravesend town centre.

Mr Sargeant is using a mattress to separate himself from concrete while Miss Wilks is resting her head on a garden swing seat.

Paul Sargeant and his partner, Marina Wilks sleep outside to guard their property
Paul Sargeant and his partner, Marina Wilks sleep outside to guard their property

The pair revealed they may not return to their beds for up to a month after their landlord told them the gate will not be replaced until September.

“Before I met Marina I was homeless for six months so I know what it’s like to sleep in the rain and the snow” - Paul Sargeant

He said: “We have a few high-value objects and we don’t want them to go missing.

“I shall be sleeping outside until the gates are put up. I don’t like sleeping much anyway but there’s no way I’m leaving that stuff open to be nicked.

“Before I met Marina I was homeless for six months so I know what it’s like to sleep in the rain and the snow.”

However, Miss Wilks admitted the new rough arrangements were proving unpleasant.

She said: “It’s a bit uncomfortable but it’s safer if there are two of us instead of just him. We
are both unbelievably tired.

“I’m on edge every time he leaves the home and ask him when he is getting back.

“I don’t feel safe here at the moment. We have had issues with people going round with eggs and starting fires.”

They returned home last Thursday to find the gate removed, even though it was padlocked.

A police spokesman confirmed officers were investigating a theft in Gravesend between 9am and 11.50am on Thursday, July 23.

Paul Sargeant said he will sleep outside until the gate is replaced. Picture: John Westhrop
Paul Sargeant said he will sleep outside until the gate is replaced. Picture: John Westhrop

The couple had a window smashed on Friday causing them more fear of a further attack.

Police said they were investigating a report of criminal damage.

According to their landlord, the gates will cost £500 to replace. The couple believe a group was involved and a getaway vehicle was used in the theft.

Mr Sargeant and Miss Wilks said they would install CCTV to beef up security at their home.


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