Hunt continues for knifepoint raider after ‘horrific’ burglary

Darren Roberts
Darren Roberts
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POLICE have vowed to continue their hunt for the accomplice of Darren Roberts after a pensioner was held at knifepoint in her home.

The Echo told yesterday how the terrified 60-year-old woke to find two men burgling the house she had lived in for more than 30 years.

At Newcastle Crown Court this week, Roberts, 25, was jailed for eight years for his role in last month’s burglary, which has left the woman too terrified to return home.

Now, officers investigating the case have pledged to continue looking for his accomplice whom Roberts refused to name.

Inspector Tony Carty, of Northumbria Police, said: “This was an horrific burglary that left the victim very shaken.

“I’m pleased that one of the men responsible for this incident will now spend a considerable time in prison.

“Our investigation has led us to believe another man was also involved, and we will continue to carry out inquiries until he is caught.”

The victim, who had lost her husband just six months earlier, was disturbed by a loud noise in the early hours of May 7 when she woke to find the men armed with a large knife.

The weapon was pointed just inches from her face as she lay in bed, and she was threatened with being stabbed when she made her way downstairs.

Roberts, of Ridley Street, Southwick, and his mystery accomplice targeted the house after being told there was a safe inside.

They escaped with £1,200 of jewellery, sentimental personal items and £25 cash after the frightened widow, who lived alone, gave them the safe’s code.

This was not the first time Roberts has been jailed. In January 2006, along with another man, he threatened workers with wooden bats before making off with thousands of pounds in takings from Castletown’s Kwik Save store. He was sentenced to five years for conspiracy to rob.

The court this week heard Roberts had been in custody almost constantly since the age of 18, but was not the raider holding the knife during the burglary at the pensioner’s home.