A 101-year-old woman from Bexley has been left terrified after burglars pinned her to a chair while ransacking her home.

Doris Beadle was powerless to stop three men breaking into her flat and snatching three boxes of jewellery worth £2,000 at around 7.45pm on Thursday.

One of the thugs managed to break in through the window of her ground floor flat in Balmoral Gardens, Parkhill Road.

He then let two accomplices in through the front door to help ransack Mrs Beadle’s bedroom while one of them forced the victim to sit helplessly in her living room chair.

The great-grandmother-of-two said: "Have they got any conscience?

"I was alright until I went to bed that night and then I shook from head to foot.

"I think I had to hold it all in so long it all came out at once."

The retired former Bedonwell Junior School secretary was on the phone to her niece when she saw a man walking towards her down the hall.

Unfortunately she thought it was her son Alan, 76, coming to visit and put the phone down.

The widow told News Shopper: "He told me there were burglars outside but they had got them pinned down.

"He asked if I had any money in the house but I said I hadn’t and told him to get out.

"I never moved. I thought I daren’t do anything because they might hit me.

"I just sat and prayed. I felt very shaken but I just held myself together because if I had passed out they might have gone through the whole house."

After around 15 minutes the thieves fled and wheelchair-bound Mrs Beadle, who suffers from osteoarthritis in her knees, managed to get to the phone and call police.

But it was too late to save a lifetime’s worth of jewellery including six commemorative coins which had been saved for her five-year-old twin great-grandchildren Oliver and Joseph.

The burglars even took Mrs Beadle’s diamond-studded engagement ring which she had only just managed to take off that evening.

She said: "I could kick myself. It took me about 15 minutes to get it off with soapy water because my fingers were swollen.

"They took the orchids from my windowsill off so they could get in without making any noise.

"They are professionals at the job I am positive of that."

Mrs Beadle says the burglars were dressed head-to-toe in black with black bobble hats, while the one who kept watch on her was tall and athletic with a dark complexion.

They stuffed what they took into pillowcases taken from her bed, including two watches, gold and silver chains and lockets.

Upstairs neighbour Pauline Lavender, 69, says residents in the area are "absolutely horrified".

The grandmother-of-five said: "She's 102 in October. It was almost like ‘has this really happened?’

"I can’t believe it because I was in at the time. It’s just horrific to be honest."

A Bexley police spokesman said officers said: "Three males, aged in their late teens/early 20s, broke into the premises and stole a quantity of jewellery along with £20 cash from the victim's purse and her passport."

Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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