Yobs caught on camera throwing stones at 86-year-old woman's bungalow in Elsenham
An 86-year-old Elsenham woman whose home was targeted by stone-throwing yobs at night has told the Indie she has been left feeling "furious and anxious".
Pamela Budden, of Glebe End, was preparing to go to bed when she heard a thud and the sound of glass breaking, minutes after midnight on Sunday (Jan 2). It was only when she opened her bedroom curtains the next morning that she discovered the outer pane of her double-glazed window had been smashed.
A neighbour's CCTV captured footage of three youths throwing stones at the front of the property. Another resident and member of the street's Neighbourhood Watch group has the same group on camera entering the cul de sac shortly after midnight.
Essex Police has come under fire from the victim's son, Richard, who said they had failed to act quickly enough to gather video evidence and had not followed up the incident with his mother.
Mrs Budden said: "It's left me feeling furious that I've got to pay to have it repaired and a bit anxious too. It's not a nice thing to happen.
"At 86 you don't expect to be vandalised, and I'm concerned about other elderly people in the village and if this is going to happen to somebody else.
"The police haven't been round to talk to me and my son's getting quite cross that nothing's being done. I feel that whoever has done this needs to be pulled up short and be made liable for the damage. They need some discipline."
Describing what happened that night, she said: "I was getting ready for bed when there was this thud and the sound of glass smashing. I looked round the bungalow but couldn't find anything. It wasn't until I pulled the curtains back the following morning that I noticed the window was broken. I was in the bathroom at the time it happened so wouldn't have known anything about it.
"There hasn't been any bother in recent years and no other neighbours experienced any damage."
Son Richard, who lives in Takeley, appealed via the Henham and Elsenham Newsline Facebook page for his mother's neighbours to check their CCTV for any footage that could help with the investigation.
He was disappointed with the slow response of Essex Police, who had since downgraded the incident from an attempted burglary to criminal damage.
Speaking to the Indie, he accused Essex Police of "doing nothing".
"With it being downgraded to criminal damage, nothing seems to be happening, which really frustrates me. My mum's had no contact from anyone since the original report, no follow-up or anything to find out if she's OK, and I find it pretty disgusting."
The Budden family moved to Broom Farm Road in Elsenham in 1963. It was following the death of her husband Peter in 1982, just before his 50th birthday, that Mrs Budden moved to the bungalow in Glebe End. The couple had been involved with Elsenham Community Association and their children, Richard and daughter Tina, who lives in Braintree, grew up in the village.
Richard said that his father had been instrumental in the acquisition of Elsenham playing fields for the community.
A spokesman for Essex Police said: "We are carrying out enquiries, including CCTV investigations, and an officer has been allocated to the investigation."
Anyone with information can submit a report online at https://www.essex.police.uk or use the 'Live Chat' button to speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm, quoting the crime reference number 42/1150/22.
You can also call Essex Police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.