Witney pensioner claims award was smashed during a raid by police

The Oxford Times: Molly Barlow with her community award she claims was smashed by police Picture: OX67960 Mark Hemsworth Buy this photo Molly Barlow with her community award she claims was smashed by police Picture: OX67960 Mark Hemsworth

THE awards from Cottsway Housing for her community work were amongst Molly Barlow’s pride and joy.

The 69-year-old had been named resident of the year for 2012 and received another award for being part of the active communities team.

She was left stunned and angry when she discovered her community work award smashed following a fruitless search by police officers looking for drugs.

Mrs Barlow’s son Steven Phinn is a recovering heroin addict. No drugs were found and Mrs Barlow said police have dismissed her complaints.

Mrs Barlow, of Weavers Close, said: “Those awards are something that I’m proud of and one of them was just smashed.

“We did all sorts of things in the community to get the award so I was really annoyed to find it broken. The police aren’t interested about that or the front door, which they say is down to Cottsway to sort out. I don’t know where to go from here.”

Thames Valley Police have had three days to respond to Mrs Barlow’s complaints but have said nothing.

Mrs Barlow had been on holiday in France for two weeks but returned in the early hours of Monday morning to find a plank of wood had been nailed over her door frame and her bungalow had been “ransacked”, with drawers in her bedroom left open and furniture turned over.

The retired office worker later found out that police had raided the Cottsway Housing Association property on Thursday last week after obtaining a warrant.

Mrs Barlow said Mr Phinn, who has been living with her for the past three years, has been clean for three months. She said six officers were reported to be involved in the search, but officers did not find any substances.

Mrs Barlow, who has difficulty walking and uses a mobility scooter and mobility car, said: “The police aren’t interested in the fact that I’m a disabled pensioner and can’t get out through my front door.

“To come back and find that someone has gone through my personal belongings was horrible.”

Mrs Barlow admitted her son was “no angel” but felt he was being victimised.

She said: “Three months doesn’t sound like a long time to have been clean, but when you think he has been a drug user for about 20 years then it’s an achievement.

Cottsway spokeswoman Lisa Hughes said it would replace the damaged award.

She said: “We are also making arrangements to replace the damaged door. New doors are made to order and can take up to six weeks from our suppliers.”

Thames Valley Police have had to pay out compensation over forced entries 21 times in Oxfordshire in two years.



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