CLARENCE Village resident Helen Barnier has been left bruised and exhausted after coming face-to-face with two intruders breaking into her home overnight.

The 72-year-old retiree arrived back at her Grafton unit about 10.30pm after a night out to notice the front door, which she was sure she had locked, was open.

Just inside the door were two teenage boys, standing about four foot away.

Thinking quickly Ms Barnier tried to lock them in, but was overpowered by the teenagers who knocked her over as they tried to escape.

"My thought was I'll lock them in, so I grabbed the door handle and pulled it closed," she said.

"I tried to put the key in to lock it but by then they wrenched it open and came towards me. One said 'Don't hit her, don't hit her', and as he said that he came towards me.

"It all happened so quick. He pushed me, I back-stepped. He must have grabbed my handbag off my shoulder, and I ended up on the ground on my right hip."

DISTRESSED: Clarence Village resident Helen Barnier was shocked to come home last night to find two teenagers standing in her unit. They stole jewellery, cash, phones and other items.
DISTRESSED: Clarence Village resident Helen Barnier was shocked to come home last night to find two teenagers standing in her unit. They stole jewellery, cash, phones and other items. Clair Morton

During the ordeal a number of pot plants on the front verge were also knocked over and smashed.

"I got up and raced inside to get my phone to ring the police and it was then I realised both phones were missing," she said.

As well as the phones, two handbags, cash, electronic items and a number of items of jewellery were stolen in the incident.

Ms Barnier estimated the value of the property stolen to be about $10,000, but said the sentimental value of the missing items was what upset her the most.

"One of the rings taken, a simple gold one with an open heart, was my mother's, and another one was given to me by my sister," she said.

Village residents scared

Clarence Village manager Vicki Valja said a number of recent break and enters in the area had left residents in independent living units on North, Arthur and Queen St feeling very vulnerable.

"Especially when they heard about this one," she said.

"Two residents got broken into last week, and the Village on Queen had two break-ins up here earlier as well. "I've been here 15 years and I've never had stuff like this happen before."

Ms Valja said two of the units were broken into while residents were asleep, and the theft of a handbag earlier this year happened while a resident was in the shower.

In response to the break-ins, the Village manager said they had stepped up security patrols and had police come out to talk to residents at Clarence on Queen and Clarence Village about security and safety.

"We've got security, we've got sensor lights. I don't know what more we can do," she said.

Police investigation continues

Police have confirmed investigations are ongoing in relation to last night's break and enter.

The two offenders have been described as 15-19 years of age, and of Aboriginal/Torres Straight Islander appearance.

Anyone with information is asked to phone Grafton Police on 6642 0222 or CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.



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