Seventy-five-year-old Lily Devin was in a terrible state. Overnight, everything of value had been taken from the garage at the side of her house – all the gardening equipment that her recently-deceased husband, Bob, had owned, from ride-on lawnmower to strimmer to sprayer to chainsaw and more.
It was quite a haul, Miss Flanagan knew, at this time of year when there was a market for ‘fell off the back of a lorry’ gardening equipment. She arrived at Lily’s before the Gardai did. After making Lily comfortable she quickly went outside to survey the area.
Taking care to touch nothing, she took photographs of the scene from garage shelves to floor to the ground outside all the way to the road gate.
On her bike now she cycled up the road. She had seen no marks of a vehicle having pulled into a gateway as she cycled up but perhaps there was something in the other direction? A hundred yards away there was a wide grass margin, she saw. Something had pulled in there overnight, she noted, from the marks.
Again her phone camera was out and used to capture the images.
It wouldn’t have taken thieves long to carry the items to the boot of a car and return for more if necessary, she decided. They’d have been able to see approaching lights from a long distance so would have known that they’d have time for their dishonest activity or not.
Satisfied that she had her preliminary evidence gathering done she went back into the house where Lily was sitting near the heater, a blanket round her shoulders, to help with the shock.
“I never heard a thing, Brigid,” she said. “My hearing’s not the best lately with this ear infection I have.”
Maybe it’s as well Lily hadn’t seen or heard anything, she thought.
What could she have done anyway and confronting thieves, at her age or any age for that matter, wouldn’t be a good idea.
Neighbours had gathered by the time the Gardai had arrived – the Allens, Finns and young Caitlin Moore from up the road. Everyone was shocked that Lily had been robbed.
“Whose property is safe if Lily has been robbed?” Jimmy Allen said. “No one’s – that’s what.”
“I’ll call in on my way home from work,” Caitlin was telling Lil now, “and I can sleep here tonight if you’d like that. I don’t want you on your own…”
“Thanks love, you’re very good.”