Thieves break into Calderdale home armed with blowtorch

A blowtorch was used to gain access.
A blowtorch was used to gain access.

A couple have been left petrified after brazen thieves broke into their home to steal the keys to their new Audi car – using a blowtorch.

Lauren Stevenson, 27, and hubby Mark, 32, were woken by burglars attempting to steal the keys to Lauren’s car which she had bought only three weeks ago.

Mark confronted the burglars while Lauren rushed to lock herself and 10-year-old daughter Lily in the bedroom to call police.

Police told them they had seen increasing cases of car thieves using blow torches to break into homes to steal car keys.

Lauren, of Sowerby Bridge, said: “We saw two thieves but we aren’t sure exactly how many there were.

“I went to bed at 10pm but we were woke up to a popping noise.

“I thought it may have been my daughter falling out of bed or something.

“I heard my husband shout ‘Get out of my house’ and thought he must have been sleep talking.

“One of the thieves was stood in a balaclava near the door with an (unlit) blowtorch in his hand.

“It was terrifying - my husband had grabbed a drawer out of the bedroom in case they approached us. We could hear people searching through the house downstairs.

Lauren, an NHS healthcare assistant, added: “I grabbed Lily and rushed back to our bedroom where I locked us both in to ring the police.

“The thief shouted ‘I’m coming up with a blowtorch’ to my husband.

“My husband put the drawer down and picked up a loft pole instead, which he used to shove the thief back down the stairs.

“The thief then shouted ‘Give me the car keys or I will come up and get them.’

“It was only when I shouted that the police were on their way which is when they left.”

The would-be thieves had been through Lauren’s handbag and cupboards of the house, but nothing is believed to have been taken.

Lauren said that she was lucky to have Mark in the house as he was supposed to be working a night shift until a last minute cancellation.

She added: “I could’ve woke up to them inside the bedroom and I wouldn’t have stood a chance.”

Lauren praised the quick response of the police but said that the family have hardly slept since the horrifying incident.

She said: “Lily is a nervous wreck, every time she starts to nod off something startles her.

“If she hears noises she is petrified and gets worked up and panicky.

“She was in tears all night. We are all on edge.”

A smashed BMW car was found on a nearby lane and Lauren said police believe this to be connected to the burglary.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said officers were called to reports of an attempted burglary at the address on Bates Avenue at around 2.35am on Tuesday morning [May 6].

They said: “The suspects are believed to have gained entry by causing damage to the front door.

“They carried out a search of the property and made off from the scene empty handed after being disturbed by the occupants of the house.

“A short time later, officers were called to a nearby road traffic collision.

“The vehicle involved has been recovered and is being linked to the incident by detectives. Enquiries remain ongoing.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101, quoting crime reference 13170255622.